American Bryson DeChambeau ran away with The Northern Trust tournament at Ridgewood Country Club after starting the final round with a three-shot lead but Smith acquitted himself well with a Sunday 69 to end the week T3.
The result moved him 37 places up the standings to 16th on the FedEx Cup table and with just two events remaining before the elite 30-man field tees off in Atlanta he’s all but guaranteed a start.
DeChambeau finished the week at 18-under and four clear of nearest challenger Tony Finau.
Smith was a stroke further back at 13-under alongside Billy Horschel, Adam Scott and Aaron Wise T5 at 12-under.
In just his fourth year as a professional Smith has proven himself at every level of the game, from his start on the Asian Tour in 2014 to claiming a maiden PGA Tour win last year.
The reigning Australian PGA Champion is playing just his third full season on the world’s premiere circuit but is quickly establishing himself as one of its most consistent performers.
Smith finished 40th in the FedexCup in 2017 but is on track to do considerably better this year including vying for Australian bragging rights.
Jason Day is the best of the Australians in the year-long points race, his two victories for the year seeing him in eighth place with three events remaining
Back-to-back birdies for @B_DeChambeau.August 26, 2018
Day had a disappointing week at the Northern Trust in New Jersey posting bookend rounds of even par 71 to finish 8-under for the 72 holes and T20.
It was far from a poor performance though less than he would have expected and an improvement over the coming weeks seems likely.
Adam Scott was next best of the Australian behind Smith after a final round that also gives him a chance to play his way to East Lake and the Tour Championship.
Starting the final day six shots behind DeChambeau, Scott would have harboured thoughts of a score in the mid 60’s to apply pressure and while that never eventuated a hot finish sees him leave New Jersey with plenty of confidence.
A birdie and two bogeys on the outward nine saw him turn 1-over though a birdie at the 15th got him back to even par.
The real fireworks came, however, when he ripped a second shot inside 10 feet at the par-5 17th and promptly rolled in the putt for eagle.
Starting the week outside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup Scott moved to 40th with his play Sunday and will be looking to move up even further at next week’s Dell technologies tournament in Boston.
Marc Leishman was the last of the Australians to make the cut and posted his best score of the week, a 4-under-67, to leapfrog 24 players and finish T35.
SIGNATURE HOLES - 16TH AT WINDAROO LAKES GC, QLD:
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