A wayward drive at the first sudden-death playoff hole has cost Cameron Smith a shot at victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST.
Tied with Tony Finau at 20-under par through 72-holes, both players went back to the tee to decide the first of the three lucrative FedEx Cup playoff events for 2021.
After Finau had striped his tee shot down the middle of the fairway, Smith sliced his golf ball out of bounds, clearing the wall the separates the Liberty National Golf Course from the Hudson River.
Finau played out the hole for a simple par to end a string of heartbreaking second-place finishes and claim his first victory since 2016.
“All I know is I’m a lot different player than I was then. I’m a lot better player and I feel like it’s been a long time coming but I also feel like you have to earn everything out here,” Finau said. “Nothing’s given to you and I was able to earn this win, and you know, hopefully, the future continues to be bright.”
I’m playing some great golf. We’ve got two big tournaments in front of me, so I’m going to enjoy this one.
It was the second tournament in three weeks where Smith’s driver has costs him late in the tournament.
Two weeks ago at the WGC FedEx St.Jude event, Smith sprayed his driver right into the trees from which he never recovered and missed out on a playoff.
“Just a terrible swing, mate. Just a mis-hit, and in these conditions, you can’t mis-hit the ball,” Smith said. “Got a little bottom-y and a little bit heal-y and just blew up in the wind and went a long ways right.”
“You know, my driver has cost me a few tournaments this year. That makes mean more determined to try and figure it out before the end of the year.”
Finau’s victory catapults him over world number one Jon Rahm into first place on the overall FedEx Cup rankings. Cameron Smith is now placed third.
The top-70 players on the FedEx Cup rankings will play next week’s second playoff tournament, the BMW Championship.
The top-30 will then proceed on to the season-ending TOUR Championship which will see players start the tournament handicapped depending on their ranking and vie for an incredible $15million winner’s cheque.