Ben Campbell outlasts Cameron Smith to win Hong Kong Open

New Zealand’s Ben Campbell sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole Sunday to win the Hong Kong Open by one shot over former Open champion Cameron Smith in a dramatic finish to the Asian Tour event at Fanling.

Campbell carded a four-under 66 in the final round to finish 19-under overall and edge Smith to a title previously won by major champions Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Greg Norman.

“I was battling away all day,” said Campbell, who became the first player to win this tournament since its return from a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I didn’t get off to the best of starts and the swing wasn’t feeling that great.”

Overnight leader Phachara Khongwatmai suffered a late slump Sunday, shooting a 69 to drop into third-place tie with Canada’s Richard T. Lee at 17-under.

Campbell, Smith and Phachara were locked in a three-way tie heading into the 18th hole. But Campbell emerged with his first career Asian Tour victory after Smith and Phachara both missed birdie putts.

“It’s good to finally get the monkey off the back,” Campbell said.

Smith, who won the 2022 Open Championship, said he was disappointed with his overall performance after finishing at 18-under for the tournament.

“Pretty poor over the weekend I guess, but I hung in there, so lots of positives,” he said. “Definitely wasn’t the nicest golf to be played over last couple of days — still lots to work on.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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