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By : BGA
Australian’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith win in a playoff to claim victory in the Zurich Classic.
In a unique team’s event, in which all four days of the tournament had a different format, both the Aussies or Team Mullet had to hold of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel to win.
The 27-year-old promised his girlfriend that his infamous cut will finally go if he were to win this week. When prompted with the thought afterwards, he had to apologize. Not to the fans who love it, but rather to his girlfriend.
“It’s not going away,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s part of me now.”
Leishman doesn’t want it to go away either. “He’s got a cult following now,” he said. “You should hear the fans out there. They’re all over him. It’s awesome.”
In a day in which the lead did not get out to more than 2 shots, both the Australian and South African teams battled it out through regulation.
Oosthuizen and Schwartzel entered the day with a one-shot lead over Leishman and Smith but with an outward 3 under 33 and an outward 2 under 34 for the South African’s and both were tied for the lead with 9 holes to go.
The Aussies opened up a 2 shot lead by the 11th but gave that all back and some more by the 15th hole. Heading into the 16th they were 1 behind and it was Leishman’s chip in which put them back on equal ground.
“Yeah, I said to the boys, ‘Why don't we just chip this in?’” said Leishman, who collected his sixth PGA TOUR victory. (The win was Smith’s third.) “It wasn't the hardest chip in the world, but under the conditions – well, I won't say it was a must make, but it was certainly very helpful that it went in. I actually forgot to get my ball out of the hole I was so excited. I went over and was high-fiving Cam, and Louis had to throw the ball to me. So yeah, it's just nice to be able to celebrate with friends. … The atmosphere was great.”
After being all tied after 72 holes both pairs had to go back to the 18th hole for a playoff. With water hugging the hole on the right side it was Oosthuizen cut off the tee which sent his drive into the water. After missing an 11 foot par putt, it was Smith’s 6 foot putt which sealed it for the Australian’s.
“Disappointed,” Oosthuizen said afterward, “but I felt we played well, gave ourselves loads of opportunities. Alternate-shot is always a tough format. But we have a third here (in 2018). We have a second. I feel next time we'll come back and get the first.”
Sunday’s victory at Zurich held extra meaning for the Aussies in that it arrived on Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day back home, a day of pause and remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in wars, and conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
“I know my family went out to a dawn service yesterday morning and paid their respects, so maybe we have got a bit of good karma out there today because of that,” Smith said. “Really cool … the Anzac spirit definitely held up today.”