New Zealand’s Ben Campbell birdied the final hole to beat Australian star Cameron Smith by one stroke on Sunday at the Hong Kong Open.
Smith, who won the 2022 British Open, Campbell and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai were locked at 18-under at the Hong Kong Golf Club heading into the Asian Tour event’s 72nd hole.
LIV star Smith sprayed his drive, opening the door for his playing partners.
It was Campbell who capitalised with a birdie to shoot a final-round 65 and finish with an overall winning score of 19-under.
Smith – who was disappointed with his driving and iron play in the final two rounds – recovered to par the hole, with his Sunday round of 66 securing him second spot, a stroke ahead of Khongwatmai, who finished with a bogey.
“(It was) pretty poor over the weekend but I hung in there so there are lots of positives,” Smith said.
“It definitely wasn’t the nicest golf to be played over the last couple of days. There is still lots to work on.”
Earlier, there had been a lengthy delay at the par-four, 16th hole when Khongwatmai – much to the anger of Smith and Campbell – had sought an unplayable lie after an errant drive landed in bushes.
Khongwatmai eventually double-bogeyed the hole before sinking a birdie on the par-four, 17th hole to tie for the lead with Campbell and Smith with one hole to play.
Smith, the former No.3 golfer in the world whose ranking has dropped to 20 due to LIV tournaments not counting for ranking points, is set to arrive home in Brisbane on Monday ahead of next week’s defence of the Australian PGA title he won last year at Royal Queensland.
Originally published as Cameron Smith loses Hong Kong Open by one stroke after rival birdies final hole