Cameron Smith has set up a mouth-watering final day showdown after going blow for blow with world No.1 Jon Rahm in a sensational scoring blitz at the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Smith remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory after refusing to blink as Rahm toyed with the Kapalua Plantation Course while compiling a 12-under-par 61 third round to catch the mulleted Australian at 26-under 193.
The pair turned on a scoring clinic, with Smith’s putter running hot as he carded a second consecutive nine-under 64, including six back-nine birdies.
Smith and Rahm will make up the final group again on Sunday (Monday AEDT) after separating themselves from a hot field comprising last season’s tournament winners.
They are set to fight it out for the $1,476,000 ($A2.1 million) winner’s cheque, with the pair five strokes clear of American Daniel Berger (66).
World No.21 Smith is attempting to add to some great Australian history in the often wind-buffeted event, with Geoff Ogilvy (2009, ’10), Stuart Appleby (2004, ’05, ’06) and Steve Elkington (1992, ’95) all multiple winners in the past.
There are no fewer than four Australians in the top 10 plus ties going into the final round.
Matt Jones had two eagles in a 62 to be tied for fourth at 20 under with American Patrick Cantley (66) and South Korea’s Sungjae Im (65).
Smith’s great mate Marc Leishman (65) is two shots further back in seventh and Cam Davis is tied 10th at 16 under after a 66.