Smith, Baddeley stumble at PGA Riviera

Cameron Smith says edging closer to a Masters berth is the only silver lining after he squandered a golden opportunity to win the US PGA Tour event at Riviera Country Club.

Cameron Smith has edged closer to a Masters berth with a tied sixth at the US PGA Tour's LA Open

Cameron Smith has edged closer to a Masters berth with a tied sixth at the US PGA Tour's LA Open

Smith was poised to join the list of Australian winners at the famed Los Angeles course when, playing in the final group, he came within one shot of the lead.

But with two back-nine bogeys, Smith posted an even-par 71 to share sixth at eight under, four shots behind winner Bubba Watson.

"I didn't have my best stuff but being able to compete without your A-game is pleasing going forward," Smith said.

"You have to be at the top of your game to win out here; it's crazy how good these guys are."

Smith could have joined Aaron Baddeley (2011), Adam Scott (2005) and Robert Allenby (2001) as LA Open winners, while Steve Elkington claimed the 1995 US PGA Championship at Riviera.

However, the most crushing outcome is 24-year-old Smith fell just short of his bid to sneak inside the world's top 50 golfers who qualify for the World Golf Championships event in Mexico in 11 days.

Smith is projected to rise six places to No.52 on Monday, when that elite field is finalised.

However, the Brisbane native is focusing on the fact he's closer to his goal of cracking the top 50 by March 26 and earning a second invitation to the Masters in April.

"There's not much more I can take from today than that," said Smith, whose next starts are Florida's Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational before the WGC-Match Play.

"Since I first played the Masters in 2016, I've always wanted to go back.

"I have a couple weeks off, so I can really work on my swing, give these next few events my best crack and try get myself to Augusta."

Baddeley also let slip a chance to win.

He opened with two birdies but cooled off on the back side, shooting 71 and settling for share of 14th at six under.

"I put it down as a missed opportunity for sure," Baddeley said.

"I made a couple bogeys on the back nine, which was disappointing.

"But my game is in good shape; I'm hitting it beautifully and driving it awesome. If I keep doing that I'll be in contention again."

Adam Scott closed with a 71 and a two-over total left him tied 53rd, while Perth veteran Greg Chalmers (75) finished at seven over.

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