GOLD COAST: Cameron Smith claimed the Australian PGA championship when he beat fellow Australian Jordan Zunic on the second play-off hole on Queensland's Gold Coast on Sunday.
Smith and Zunic finished the tournament locked at 18 under par 270 on Royal Pines Resort course.
Smith started the day three shots behind Zunic but fired his fourth consecutive sub-70 round with a four-under 68 to peg back the overnight leader.
"I tried to stay aggressive all day," Smith said.
"With Jordan's lead that he had, I thought that I had to stay aggressive. I knew he was playing well."
The 24-year-old Smith grew up in nearby Brisbane and is considered the rising star of Australian golf.
He grew up watching fellow Queenslanders Adam Scott and Jason Day.
"Jason was just kind of coming out of junior golf in Queensland as I was going into it, so I used to go and watch him and stuff like that," he said.
"I remember going out with dad and mum watching Adam and those type of guys up there (at the Australian PGA) in Coolum.
"And then it was really one of my goals, I wanted to win one and just being in Queensland makes it a little bit more special."
The win was the second of his professional career and follows his success at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Sweden's Jonas Blixt on the US PGA tour in May.
Zunic was disappointed, particularly after his superb eight-under round of 64 on Saturday.
But the 25-year-old from New South Wales could not find the same touch as he did on Saturday, his three birdies spoilt by bogeys on the first and 10th holes in a one-under round of 71.
"I felt really good, had a good mindset all day," Zunic said.
"But I didn't quite hit it as well off the tee today, which didn't give me as many birdie opportunities."
Smith scrambled to save par on the first play-off hole then took advantage on the second when Zunic found a fairway bunker.
When Zunic's par-saving putt lipped out, Smith was left with a simple three-footer to win the title.
The win makes Smith eligible for the European Tour, who co-sanctioned the tournament, but Smith said he had not thought that far ahead.
"I didn't even realise that that was what happened," he said.
"I didn't even know. I might go over there for a few weeks and maybe do a little playing holiday type thing, I'm not sure."
Adam Bland finished one shot behind Smith and Zunic, three shots clear of Marc Leishman and David Bransdon.
Defending champion Harold Varner III was in sixth place on 12-under, while US Masters champion Sergio Garcia faded in the final round with a two-over 74 to finish on six under in a tie for 24th. — AFP