Cameron Smith outdueled world No. 1 Jon Rahm on Sunday at Kapalua to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions in record-breaking fashion. Here’s everything you need to know:
Leaderboard: Cameron Smith (-34), Jon Rahm (-33), Matt Jones (-32), Patrick Cantlay (-26), Collin Morikawa (-25), Justin Thomas (-25), Daniel Berger (-25)
How it happened: Smith and Rahm entered Sunday knotted up at an eye-popping 26 under, but Rahm, a day removed from tying the Plantation Course record of 61, was much slower to get going in the final round than Smith. Rahm carded just one birdie in his first eight holes while Smith had three during that stretch to build a two-shot lead. Rahm pulled to within a shot after an aggressive tee shot at the par-3 11th led to a 15-foot birdie make, but Smith managed to match Rahm birdies on Nos. 13-15. When Rahm drove his ball just over the green at the 284-yard, par-4 14th hole, Smith found the green with his tee ball before two-putting from 33 feet to keep his edge. While Matt Jones orchestrated a valiant charge, it was a two-man race all the way to the end. Smith and Rahm each hit the par-5 18th green in two shots, and Smith lagged close for the winning birdie to shoot 8-under 65 and clip Rahm (66) by a shot.
What it means: Nearly two decades after Ernie Els shot 31 under and set a PGA Tour 72-hole scoring record at the 2003 Mercedes Championship here at Kapalua, not one but three players eclipsed Els’ longstanding mark this week. Smith’s name, however, will be the one going atop the record book after his fourth career Tour victory (second of the individual variety as he previously won two Zurich Classic team titles plus the 2020 Sony Open). Smith is now the sixth player to win the Tour’s Hawaii Slam (TOC in Maui and Sony Open in Honolulu), joining Justin Thomas, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. The 28-year-old Smith is also projected to climb to 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Full-field scores from the Sentry Tournament of Champions
Round of the day: Another day, another course-record 61. After Rahm and Justin Thomas carded the first two 61s in Plantation Course history, Jones added his name to the list with a 12-under finish. Rahm and Smith each said on Saturday that they wouldn’t be surprised if another player made a big Sunday charge, and Jones was that guy. He recorded eight birdies and a pair of eagles, including a hole-out at the par-4 13th and a 4-foot make at the par-5 15th after a great second shot from 216 yards.
Shot of the day: Jones’ hole-out at No. 13 came on a flighted wedge from 86 yards out that took two hops and found the bottom of the cup.
Biggest disappointment: Since not many players even had a chance on Sunday – Billy Horschel and Si Woo Kim each shot 17 under, tied for 23rd and got doubled up – Rahm is the default pick. He had a chance to put pressure on Smith early, but he failed to do so, and it cost him. Though it is shocking that a player like Rahm can make an eagle, 32 birdies and just one bogey, and not win. So, disappointment probably isn’t the right word.
Winning quote: “Mate, it was intense. Jonny and I played well the whole day. We had Matty in the group in front lighting it up, as well. So, yeah, unreal round, something I’ll never forget for sure. … We spoke about it earlier in the day. We wanted to get to 35-under. We missed it by one. So, I mean, in that sense, disappointing, but it’s great to come away with the ‘W.'” – Smith