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Smyth joins elite company with NT PGA win

(Photo: PGA of Australia)
Rising star Travis Smyth has added his name to an impressive list of amateurs to win on the PGA Tour of Australasia in recent years with a dominating performance at the NT PGA in Darwin.

Smyth, a recent quarter-finalist at the US Amateur, capped off a wire to wire victory at Palmerston Golf Club with a final round 67 to win by six strokes at 19-under.

Curtis Luck, Ben Eccles and Brett Coletta have all claimed PGA Tour of Australasia wins while still amateurs in recent years and Smyth has a pedigree the equal of all with the exception of perhaps Luck.

Smyth held or shared the lead at the completion of every round but the 22-year-old from Wollongong was perhaps most impressive on Sunday when he extended his four shot overnight lead.

“To be honest it hasn’t soaked in too much yet, but I am sure when I wind down later this afternoon it will definitely kick in," an ecstatic Smyth said after the round.

“Following in the footsteps of Curtis Luck and Brett Coletta is a very good feeling. I am very excited, the future just feels a little bit more promising now that I have my first professional win and I am still an amateur.”

Smyth said everything fell into place for him after some recent hard work on his short game.

“The main goal all week was just to keep it in play; it was playing really short because it was so dry so I just trusted my wedges," he said.

“I have been working heavily on my short game for some time now and it definitely pulled through this week.

“I didn’t play overly aggressive and still came out on top. It was a well thought out week and I am very happy that I got the win.”

The win gives Smyth plenty to consider about his future though he has already stated he will remain amateur for the sole purpose of playing the upcoming Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington next month where the winner receives an invite to the Masters at Augusta and the Open Championship.

“I have entered European Tour Q-School, I am going to go to first stage but remain amateur because in between first and second stage is the Asian Pacific Amateur," he said.

“If I win I will obviously stay amateur to play the Masters, but if not I’ll turn Pro and try to get my card in Europe then come back for the Aussie summer.

“If you don’t play well at Q-School, which only comes around once a year, you are out of a job for a year. So knowing that I have status here in Australia is a massive relief. “

Victorian Deyen Lawson finished second alone at 13-under after a final round 68 with one of Smyth’s two playing partners for the day, Darren Beck, third alone at 12-under.

For the fourth straight day Smyth played with a maturity beyond his years opening with back to back birdies and adding two more to close out the front nine.

His good play made it difficult for his nearest pursuers to apply any pressure with Marcus Both falling away early with two front nine bogeys and Darren Beck dropping three shots between the ninth and the 14th to end his chances.

Defending champion Jordan Zunic seemed the most likely threat at the start of the day and after birdies at his opening two holes looked on track to give Smyth a run.

However, a double bogey at the 6th, compounded by another dropped shot at the next, all but finished his run before the turn and.

Zunic birdied the 9th to get back even but could advance no further as he reeled off nine straight pars to finish in a share of fourth alongside Victorian PGA winner Damien Jordan.

Steven Jeffress, Matt Millar, Rick Kulacz and Daniel McGraw shared 6th place and rounded out the top 10.


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