Smith goes back-to-back at #AusPGA

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by Tony Webeck, PGA of Australia

Cameron Smith is the first player to win successive Australian PGA championships in 2001 since Robert Allenby after launching a stunning late comeback in the final round of RACV Royal Pines Resort.

A quirky ride at the first hole and a second bogey at the par-4 fourth saw Smith's three-day night lead quickly evaporate as good friend Marc Leishman took control of the tournament, chipping in on the fourth hole to play the role of front runner.

When Leishman made the turn in 4-under par Smith he fought the nerves to be 1-over before three birdies in the space of four holes halfway the rear nine threw the tournament upside down.

The pair made both birdie on the par-5 12th when Leishman retained a lead of two shots, a lead that Smith was able to halve with a birdie three on the par-4 13th

The first setback of Leishman happened on the 14th when his putt before par did a complete round of the gap and remained standing, but it was on the par-15 15th, where the wave gods really joined him.

A wild ride through Smith seemed destined for the lake on the left side of the fairway to only bounce off a rock and forward into the left rugged. His second shot flashed to the right and came right behind the boards on the par-3 16th tee.

He was able to take the illumination of the signage and used his world-class short game to play a pitch shot up to a meter away, where the successful birdie-putt the 25-year-old set a shot with three holes to play.

A Leishman bogey on the 16th doubled Smith's lead and when the pair was split on the 17th, the defending champion put back a hand on the trophy and captured the possession with a par at the last.

Smith's former Queensland Boys teammate Jake McLeod also endured a nervous afternoon before he became the winner of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour or Australasia Order of Merit providing a one-year exemption for the European Tour and entry to two World Golf Championship events with brought along.

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