Smith and Scott make PGA playoffs leap

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Smith and Scott make PGA playoffs leap

Cameron Smith and Adam Scott have surged up the FedEx Cup points list with a strong showing at the opening event of the $US67-million playoffs in New Jersey.

CAMERON SMITH of Australia plays his second shot during the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

CAMERON SMITH of Australia plays his second shot during the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Picture:Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Cameron Smith has given himself a red-hot chance to make the FedEx Cup’s Tour Championship finale with a strong result at the opening event of the $US 67-million playoffs.

Smith pulled within three shots of runaway leader Bryson DeChambeau during the final round at the Northern Trust in New Jersey, but was ultimately no match as the American romped to a four-shot win.

DeChambeau started the final day at Ridgewood Country Club with a four-shot lead and closed with a two-under-par 69 to earn an 18-under total.

Tony Finau (68) was runner-up at 14 under, with Smith (69) and Billy Horschel (68) sharing third at 13 under. Adam Scott (69) was a shot further back and finished tied fifth.

With his first top-five result on the US Tour since the Masters in April, Smith jumps 37 places on the FedEx Cup to No.16.

He is now a strong chance at remaining inside the top 30 who progress to the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.

“I haven’t been in the mix for a couple months so it was fun to play well under the gun and it was important to do that heading into three really important events,” said Smith.

It is likely the new world No.39 will only need to make the cut at the second playoffs event in Boston this week to assure himself of a Tour Championship debut, having missed out on the finale last year.

Advancing to the Tour Championship, where the FedEx Cup winner is crowned, guarantees starts in all four major championships next year.

“To get into the Tour Championship has been a goal all year, so I’m going to be trying my guts out over the next couple of weeks,” Smith said.

Smith’s fellow Queenslander Scott also made a FedEx Cup leap – 33 places to No.40 – with his second consecutive top-five result on the US Tour also taking him to 38th in the world.

Although one of golf’s most prolific ball-strikers, former Masters winner Scott is perennially criticised for lacklustre putting.

But former world No.1 Scott ranked first in the field for strokes gained in putting in a sure sign reuniting with coach Brad Malone is working wonders.

“There was lots of good stuff this week; the putting is looking really good and the proximity to the hole was great,” said Scott, who also finished third at the recent US PGA Championship.

“If I can keep that going in these next three events I can get myself to Atlanta.”

Jason Day carded a lacklustre even-par 71 to share 20th at eight under at the event he won in 2015.

Marc Leishman signed off in style with a 67 for his five-under total which left him in a tie for 34th.

FEDEX CUP AUSTRALIAN STANDINGS AFTER NORTHERN TRUST:

Jason Day (8)

Cameron Smith (16)

Marc Leishman (24)

Adam Scott (40)

AAP

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