AVONDALE, La. – Cameron Smith's aggressiveness on the TPC Louisiana's water-lined 16th hole appeared to doom his team's chances of winning the Zurich Classic when his 294-yard drive bounced off an embankment near the green and into the water.
Smith's teammate, fellow Australian Marc Leishman, then flipped the script with a deft chip.
Leishman made birdie after a penalty drop in the rough, about 23 feet from the pin, pulling him and Smith into a tie with the South African duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel that wasn't broken until the Aussies won the first playoff hole Sunday.
"(Smith) hit a really good shot. It was the right club and the right shot, just drifted a little in the wind,” Leishman said. “I was just concentrating on my game and I was lucky enough to be on the up slope.
“It wasn’t the hardest chip in the world, but under the conditions, well, I won’t say it was a must-make, but it was certainly very helpful that it went in.”
Smith and Leishman ended it with a par on their second trip up the par-5 18th after Oosthuizen pushed his tee shot into the water and narrowly missed an 11-foot putt for par.
“Disappointed, but I felt we played well, gave ourselves loads of opportunities,” said Oosthuizen, who was seeking his first win since the 2010 British Open. “We have a second. I feel next time we’ll come back and get the first. But so a disappointing way to finish like that. ... It could have gone any way, the way we played in regulation.”
The Australians forced the playoff by shooting a 2-under 70 in alternate-shot play at the PGA Tour's lone regular-season team event for a four-round 268. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel began the round with a one-stroke lead, but shot a 71 with three pars and two bogeys.