Cameron Smith's 'astonishing' first in $6 million LIV Golf victory
Cameron Smith has put an exclamation mark on what has been an extraordinary year for the Aussie golfer after winning his maiden LIV Golf title.
In just his second start in the Saudi-backed series, Australia's British Open champion claimed a three-shot win over over Americans Dustin Johnson and Peter Uihlein in the LIV Golf invitational, just outside Chicago.
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Smith - who was one of 12 major champions in the 48-player field at Rich Harvest Farms - shot a three-under-par 69 in the final round of the 54-hole event to claim the $US4 million ($A6m) first prize.
The victory means Smith has earned some USD$10.6m (AUD$15.8m) in prizemoney from wins alone in 2022, having claimed the British Open, as well as trophies at the Tournament of Champions in January, The Players Championship in March and now the LIV event in Chicago.
Smith was also given a staggering $US100 million ($AUD140m) signing on bonus for joining the Saudi-backed series as one of their most high-profile recruits.
Reflecting on his victory in Chicago and phenomenal 2022, Aussie golf broadcaster Luke Elvy described it as an "astonishingly lucrative year.”
Elvy posted: “Cam Smith has won USD$10.6m this year in victories alone. Maui, The PLAYERS, The Open, LIV Chicago. That doesn’t include any other events or his $100m sign on bonus. Banner year for Australia’s no.1.
“Cam Smith won USD$3.6m at The Players in March, the then richest purse in golf, he’s just won the LIV Golf event in Chicago & USD$4m. Neither of them are close to the significance of The Open. But for a boy from working class Australia, 2022 has been astonishingly lucrative year.”
Fans also took to social media in force to congratulate the 29-year-old on his latest triumph.
Cam Smith won USD$3.6m at The Players in March, the then richest purse in golf, he’s just won the LIV Golf event in Chicago & USD$4m. Neither of them are close to the significance of The Open. But for a boy from working class Australia, 2022 has been astonishingly lucrative year.
— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) September 18, 2022
Cameron Smith wins at #LIVGolf Chicago! Just his 2nd event in the series! Congrats Cam!
— President Zachary Taylor (@PresidentZT) September 18, 2022
First LIV Golf win 🏆#LIVGolf #LIVGolfChicago #CamSmith pic.twitter.com/8RJ7829uFb
— LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) September 18, 2022
Cam Smith has won the following prize money this year in first place finishes alone ...
$4M -- LIV Chicago
$3.6M -- Players
$2.5M -- Open
$1.5M -- Kapalua
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 18, 2022
Aussie Aussie Aussie!!🇦🇺 Exceptional playing mate. And awesome finish. Congratulations Cam Smith on your first @LIVGolfInv victory 🏆
And congratulations @FourAcesGC on four team victories in a row… Four of a kind!! ♠️♠️♠️♠️ pic.twitter.com/8iEDomrTJZ
— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) September 19, 2022
Cam Smith 🇦🇺 and his caddie Sam Pinfold 🇳🇿 add another victory to their CV for 2022. It’s been a superb year.
Tournament of Champions
150th Open Championship
LIV Invitational Chicago
The Australian summer of golf is just around the corner as well 👀
— Dan Cobby (@dan_cobby) September 18, 2022
"I think I had to prove to probably myself and some other people that I am still a great player, you know I am still out here to win golf tournaments," Smith said.
"Proud of how I hung in there today. Didn't really have my best stuff the first eight or nine holes but stuck it tough and made a few good putts coming in. It was nice."
Cam Smith holds off American duo to win title
The stage was set for a final-round duel between two of the world's best golfers as overnight leader Smith began the day two shots clear of playing partner Johnson (70), who fell three shots back after a bogey at the first hole.
Both players birdied the second but Smith bogeyed the fourth and sixth as Johnson got to within a stroke before the duo carded birdies at the par-five seventh.
Smith opened up a three-shot lead with a birdie at the par-four eighth, where Johnson carded the first of two consecutive bogeys to reach the turn four back and his hopes of becoming the first multiple winner on the LIV Golf series all but dashed.
Uihlein (69) got into the mix and was briefly one shot back of Smith, who was cruising along the back nine until a bogey at the par-three 16th, but the Australian reached the 18th three shots clear after a birdie at the penultimate hole coupled with a late Uihlein bogey.
Smith is the highest-ranked player to join LIV Golf to date and finished fourth in his debut two weeks ago in Boston where he missed out on a three-man playoff by one shot after a bogey on his penultimate hole.
Compatriots Matt Jones (72) finished four under, Jed Morgan (71) and Wade Ormsby (72) four over, and Marc Leishman (78) six over to come home in last place.
While Johnson could not catch Smith he did help his 4 Aces teammates Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez to victory in the team competition as the squad split a $US3 million ($A5.4m) first-place prize for the fourth consecutive event.
The final round was interrupted for a scheduled moment of silence that was observed across the venue in honour of Queen Elizabeth, whose image was shown on screens around the course.
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