Tournament of Champions 2022: Cameron Smith Edges Jon Rahm After Record 34-Under

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

Cameron Smith waves after making birdie on the 13th green during the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York

Cameron Smith is the champion of champions, at least on Sunday.

Smith won the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions with a final-round score of eight-under 65 to bring his total score to -34. He bested a loaded field of 38 winners from last season that qualified for the tournament at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii.

It was a birdie and eagle fest throughout the event with so many of the sport's biggest names in the field, and Smith ended up one stroke clear of Jon Rahm in a record-setting performance.


34-UNDER 🏆<br><br>Lowest score in PGA TOUR history. <br><br>Cameron Smith wins the <a href="https://twitter.com/Sentry_TOC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Sentry_TOC</a>, his fourth win on TOUR. <a href="https://t.co/wEYol5QCwE">pic.twitter.com/wEYol5QCwE</a>


Alone at the top. <br><br>First birdie of the day for Cameron Smith to take the outright lead. <a href="https://t.co/6JqrXZAz6h">pic.twitter.com/6JqrXZAz6h</a>


Leading the field in SG: Putting. 🕳<br><br>Cameron Smith extends the lead to two. <a href="https://t.co/Tmceh6TnKF">pic.twitter.com/Tmceh6TnKF</a>


Cameron Smith is -15 on par-5s so far this week:<br><br>Eagle<br>Birdie<br>Eagle<br>Par<br>Eagle<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Birdie<br>Par<br>Birdie<br>Birdie <a href="https://t.co/0rG24u6gdz">pic.twitter.com/0rG24u6gdz</a>

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, which can be found in full at PGATour.com.

1. Cameron Smith, -34

2. Jon Rahm, -33 

3. Matt Jones, -32

4. Patrick Cantlay, -26

T5. Collin Morikawa, -25

T5. Justin Thomas, -25

T5. Daniel Berger, -25

There was no better indicator of how low a winning score would need to be in this tournament than Saturday's third round.

Justin Thomas shot a blistering 12-under 61 to set the course record only for it to be tied later that day by Rahm. While Thomas' record-setting showing just moved him into better position after a slow start, Rahm propelled himself to a tie with Smith atop the leaderboard at 26-under.


Three birdies in the last four holes. <a href="https://twitter.com/JonRahmpga?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonRahmPGA</a> continues to put pressure on. He's 1 back. <a href="https://t.co/uo4r0SDLj5">pic.twitter.com/uo4r0SDLj5</a>


Bold shot on a beautiful hole. <br><br>Birdie gets <a href="https://twitter.com/JonRahmpga?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonRahmPGA</a> within 1. <a href="https://t.co/kwsFw5OciW">pic.twitter.com/kwsFw5OciW</a>

It also set up what seemed to be a two-man race on Sunday since they were both five shots clear of Daniel Berger, who was in third place.

Collin Morikawa and Matt Jones had other ideas, though, and the former challenged the fresh course record with an 11-under 62. 


249 yards ➡️ 10 feet. <br><br>All gas, no brakes for <a href="https://twitter.com/collin_morikawa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Collin_Morikawa</a> who is -10 thru 15. <a href="https://t.co/yOLd4L1wmJ">pic.twitter.com/yOLd4L1wmJ</a>

Morikawa ultimately had too much ground to make up, but he tallied nine birdies and an eagle without dropping a single shot in a brilliant performance. It moved him into the top five and might have set him up for another impressive season after he won The Open Championship last year.

Jones was closer to the top of the leaderboard than Morikawa thanks to his own 11-under 62 during Saturday's third round.

It would still take an incredible round to catch the top duo, but Jones wasted no time establishing a rhythm with five birdies on the front nine. If it wasn't clear he would be a factor at that point, it was when he pitched one in from the fairway for an eagle on the par-four 13th to put the pressure on the leaders.

One eagle would be one thing, but he posted another one with a dart of a second shot and short putt on the par-five 15th.


Final round 61. 🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/mattjonesgolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MattJonesGolf</a> records the lowest 36-hole score to par in TOUR history. <a href="https://t.co/gkMPCBcrWh">pic.twitter.com/gkMPCBcrWh</a>


From 52 feet! <a href="https://twitter.com/mattjonesgolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MattJonesGolf</a> isn't going down without a fight. 👊 <a href="https://t.co/WMkqVE7csU">pic.twitter.com/WMkqVE7csU</a>


Four eagles in a 20-hole stretch. 😮<a href="https://twitter.com/mattjonesgolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MattJonesGolf</a> with another beauty to get within 2. <a href="https://t.co/K7A9vogFd4">pic.twitter.com/K7A9vogFd4</a>


Two hops and in for 2⃣<a href="https://twitter.com/mattjonesgolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MattJonesGolf</a> is -16 in his last 20 holes. He's 2 back. <a href="https://t.co/u5ugBVoZIO">pic.twitter.com/u5ugBVoZIO</a>

Yet it is a testament to the incredible efforts from Smith and Rahm that Jones was never able to pull even  during his own unbelievable round. Jones seemed more likely to challenge the course record than win at 10-under through the 15th, and he did just that by finishing with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to become the third golfer to shoot a course-record 12-under 61.

He was left watching as Smith and Rahm put on a show during the back nine.

After shooting four-under through the first 12 holes, Smith caught fire with three birdies in a row on Nos. 13-15 only for Rahm to match him birdie-for-birdie during that stretch. Yet Rahm was just three-under through those opening 12 holes, so that gave Smith a one-stroke cushion heading into the stretch run.

They both finished with pars on Nos. 16 and 17, which was, frankly, somewhat disappointing given the overall low scores and represented missed opportunities for both.

That put the tournament on the line in the par-five 18th, and both golfers birdied to finish a spectacular show.