PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Final RoundApr 30, 2017; Avondale, LA, USA; Cameron Smith watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans golf tournament at TPC Louisiana. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) - Australia's Cameron Smith sank a short birdie putt at the fourth extra hole to clinch victory with Swedish partner Jonas Blixt at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event on Monday.
In earning his first PGA Tour victory at the age of 23, Smith became the third youngest Australian winner on the PGA Tour since 1970 when comprehensive records began.
The victory means Smith has joined an elite group from his homeland, with only major champions Jason Day and Adam Scott winning at a younger age in recent times.
Smith was almost speechless afterwards, breaking into tears of joy during a greenside interview as he said: “I can’t even talk, I’m sorry.”
But Swede Blixt was more expansive, heaping lavish praise on his partner, who finished fourth at the 2015 U.S. Open won by Jordan Spieth.
“I feel like I have the best partner here,” Blixt said.
“He’s going to be a superstar one day. You can see it now. I’m very proud of him. Seeing how he plays golf, the sky is the limit for him.
“Watching these last four days I’ve never seen anything that good in an extremely long time. I can’t wait to see what’s to come for him.”
The playoff at TPC Louisiana was delayed until Monday after a long thunderstorm delay on Sunday prevented the final group from completing the regulation 72 holes until it was almost dark.
Smith and Blixt finished tied at 27-under-par 261 with the American duo of Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, after Kisner made a stunning eagle from 30 yards at the final hole.
Smith had a chance to end the playoff at the first extra hole but missed a birdie from about six feet before Kisner missed from almost the same distance at the next hole.
They halved the third extra hole with pars before Smith stuck his approach to inside three feet at the par-five 18th and closed the book on the tour’s first team event in 36 years.
Smith's victory earned him a spot in the prestigious Players Championship in Florida next week.
Blixt, who secured his third tour win, was already in the Players field.
Blixt is now the fourth most successful Swede in PGA Tour history, behind Henrik Stenson, Jesper Parnevik and Carl Pettersson, who all have five wins.
The New Orleans format used two rounds of foursomes (alternate shot) and two rounds of four-ball (best ball).
Smith and Blixt were bogey-free for the entire tournament.
Though their triumph is official for tour records, no world ranking points were awarded and neither was a Masters invitation, normally one of the perks of victory on the PGA Tour.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)