Kiwi pro watch: Smail has best finish in Japan for 2012

Hamilton professional David Smail has recorded his best finish on the Japan Golf Tour for 2012.

The 42-year-old enjoyed a fantastic weekend at the Vana H Cup where he carded two rounds of four under par 68 to climb from a share of 49thplace to tied seventh place.

Smail, who has been on the Japan Golf Tour for a New Zealand record of 15 straight seasons, got the putter going for his best finish this year, surpassing his tie for 11th place at the Sun Chlorella Classic three weeks ago.

He carded scores of 69, 71, 68 and 68 to finish on a 12 under par total, six shots back from the South Korean champion Hyung-Sung Kim.

The lanky Kiwi made only 11 putts on the back nine in the final round as he came home in four under par 32 to climb into the top 10. He made only 26 putts in total in round four to turn around what has been holding him back in 2012.

He earned $49,000(NZD) for his top 10 finish and has now earned $144,000 (NZD) from 10 events to rank 58thon the money list. Smail needs to place inside the top 70 to keep his card for 2013.

Smail, who began the season well at a co-sanctioned event in Indonesia, has been able to turn around a mid-season slump.

“I got off to a good start there and I was feeling pretty good about my game,” said the five time winner on the Japan Golf Tour.

“But when I got back to Japan I played solid but the putter was pretty cold and I didn’t threaten any leaderboards. Then another trip there I had four tournaments in a row and I missed three cuts in a row. It was pretty bleak really.

"I couldn’t put my finger on it apart from the fact my putting was pretty poor and that put the pressure on the rest of my game.

“I putted a lot better to finish 11that Sun Chlorella hopefully that bit of confidence will help and spark something for the rest of the year.”

Fellow Kiwi professional Richard Lee had rounds of 76 and 67 to miss the cut by three shots.

Lee, who finished tied 22nd last week at the Kansai Open Golf Championship, has slipped to 97thon the Order of Merit and needs a good run of results to keep his card for 2013.

Meantime over in the States, Tim Wilkinson has also enjoyed a great weekend in Tennessee.

The Manawatu professional carded consecutive rounds of three under par 68 at the News Sentinel Open on the Tour to finish in a share of 31stplace.

The former PGA Tour pro had a bogey-free three under par 68 in the final round at the Fox Den Country Club to earn some valuable money on the Tour Order of Merit.

Hamilton professional Steven Alker had rounds of 73 and 72 for a three over par total to miss the cut.

Wilkinson and Alker are currently 66thand 82ndon the Tour Money List respectively and need to finish inside the top 25 to automatically qualify for the PGA Tour in 2013.

New Zealand No.1 Danny Lee, who missed out on the top 125 players who qualified for the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs on the PGA Tour in 159th place, missed the cut on his return to the Tour.

The former US Amateur Champion, who shot a one over par 72 in round one, responded with a three under par 68. He came up one shot shy of making the cut in his first Tour event for 2012.

Over in Scotland Michael Campbell also missed the cut at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles..

The former US Open champion, who carded a 10 over par 82 to be in share of 153rd place, missed the cut but climbed almost 30 places with his second round two under par 70.

The eight-time European Tour winner has made the cut in four of 14 tournaments in 2012.