Open champion Cameron Smith secured a timely boost ahead of his defence of the Claret Jug next week by claiming his first win of the year at LIV Golf London on Sunday.
Smith completed a wire-to-wire victory with a round of 68 to finish on 15 under par at Centurion Club in St Albans, one better than team-mate Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed.
He fell agonisingly short of leading his Rippers to glory in the team competition however, a bogey at the last dropping them behind Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces.
“It’s a bit of mixed emotions at the moment,” Smith said. “I’m obviously thrilled about the individual win but it would have been nice to get up there with the boys. I hit a good putt too.
“It’s good to see Leish playing really good golf, he played incredible this week.
“It was a gutsy win over the weekend. I definitely didn’t have my best with the driver, there’s still some work to do on that, but I’m really happy with the win.”
Smith led by three shots overnight and stayed out in front all day but came under pressure over the closing holes from Reed and Leishman.
Reed’s seven birdies in his last 10 holes lifted the former Masters champion to within two shots of Smith, and Leishman joined him on 14 under with a birdie at the last.
Smith then found a bunker with his approach to 18 and although he produced a fine recovery shot, he missed his par putt to trim his winning margin.
Nonetheless, it represents ideal timing just 11 days before he begins his Open defence at Royal Liverpool.
Smith has been playing well without winning titles, finishing fourth at the US Open and in the top 10 at the US PGA Championship as well as recording five consecutive top-12s in LIV Golf events.
This win moved him up to second in the individual standings, seven points behind Talor Gooch, a three-time winner this year.
His late bogey denied Ripper a first win in the LIV Golf London team competition and saw 4Aces take a second victory, having also triumphed in Adelaide in April.
Johnson’s team, who took the overall title in LIV Golf’s first season, lead the standings by 39 points from Joaquin Niemann’s Torque.
Louis Oosthuizen was fourth in the individual leaderboard on 12 under, two shots ahead of Johnson in fifth.
England’s Richard Bland was among a clutch on nine under par, along with Henrik Stenson, Thomas Pieters, Pat Perez and Cameron Tringale.
Ian Poulter was a further shot back on eight under after a five-under-par round of 66.