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Smith, Blixt claim Zurich in playoff

AVONDALE, La. — Cameron Smith stood on the edge of the 18th green, wiping away tears at a ceremony complete with alligator skin championship belts and a silver chalice.

The 23-year-old Australian, the youngest and least accomplished player left on the course, had been painstakingly close to his first PGA Tour victory — from the final hole of regulation at the Zurich Classic on Sunday night through the fourth playoff hole Monday.

He kept his emotions in check long enough to stick a 58-yard lob wedge within 3½ feet of the pin on the fourth playoff hole — the par-5 18th — and sink his birdie putt.

The sequence lifted him and teammate Jonas Blixt of Sweden to the first championship under the Zurich Classic's new team format. And it finally vanquished the feisty team of South Carolina residents Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown.

Kisner and Brown had rallied with a final round of 12-under 60 on Sunday, capped by a nearly 95-foot chip-in for eagle by Kisner as darkness fell Sunday night at TPC Louisiana.

"It was pretty cool to knock the putt in for the win," said Smith, who along with Blixt had missed potential winning putts from 9 to 10 feet on earlier playoff holes. "I guess it would have felt a little bit different if Jonas had done it for my first win.

"To have a putt to win on the PGA Tour when you've been working toward it your whole life is a completely different feeling," Smith added. "It felt like the longest (3½-foot) putt I've ever hit."

The Zurich Classic was the first team event on the PGA Tour since the Walt Disney World National Team Championship in 1981.

The tournament began with 80 teams and players choosing teammates. Many said they chose friends on the Tour rather than research whose game best complemented their own. The new format attracted half of the top 30-ranked players.