12/2/2018 10:02:21 AM

Smith holds off Leishman charge to win Australian PGA title

Smith holds off Leishman charge to win Australian PGA title

Gold Coast, Australia: Relieved defending champion Cameron Smith held off a final round charge from close friend Marc Leishman to win the Australian PGA Championship by two strokes on Sunday.

The world number 33 took a three-shot lead over his fellow Australian into day four of the European Tour-sanctioned event at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, but it quickly evaporated.

The 21st-ranked Leishman, who won the US PGA Tour's CIMB Classic in Malaysia recently, had four birdies on the front nine while Smith made two bogeys to give him the edge going into the home straight.

It set up a tense finale with Smith -- who partnered Leishman to second place at the World Cup in Melbourne last weekend.

Smith kept his cool, sinking birdies at 12, 13 and 15.

In contrast, Leishman floundered with bogeys at 14 and 16, leaving him with a round of 69 to end his hopes of a first-ever win at a major Australian event.

Smith finished at 16-under-par for the tournament after a final round 70.

Englishman Ross McGowan, who shot a course record nine-under-par 63, was joint third, five behind Smith, alongside Australian Matthew Millar.

"Leish got off to a good start and I didn't, but I managed to hang in there," said Smith.

"It was pretty special, I'm sure there's a long night ahead."

It was another crushing disappointment for Leishman, who despite claiming four titles on the US Tour has never managed to do the same at home.

"A couple of shots didn't come out as I hoped (on the back nine) and I lost a bit of momentum," he said.

"Cam made birdies when he had to. I'm disappointed, but I gave it my best."

The last person to win back-to-back Australian PGA titles was Robert Allenby in 2000 and 2001.

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