Cam Smith just misses out on round of 59

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Cameron Smith will have to sleep on his co-lead and the chance of a life-changing $A21 million pay day for an extra night after rocketing up the leaderboard at the Northern Trust Open with another record-setting display on the US PGA Tour.

Smith shattered the course record with an extraordinary 11-under-par 60 at Liberty National to surge into provisional second place in the $US60m ($A84m) FedExCup playoffs.

But a grim weather forecast forced officials to delay the final round until at least Monday (US time), leaving Smith to toss and turn another night over the exciting prospect of duelling with co-leader and world No.1 John Rahm down the stretch.

But the unexpected layoff will also afford the Australian No.1 time to reflect on the round of a lifetime.

In an incredible bogey-free effort featuring 11 birdies, Smith missed a 12-foot putt on the 18th hole to fall centimetres short of posting only the 12th magical round of 59 in PGA Tour history - Jim Furyk has the only 58.

But Smith did enough in New Jersey to snare a share of the third-round lead at 16 under with Rahm, and power into second spot on the projected FedExCup standings.

The winner of the obscenely rich playoffs will pocket a $US15m ($A21m) bonus.

Smith's dazzling performance came just two weeks after he tied the PGA tour record for fewest putts in a round with just 18 during a second-round 62 at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

There, too, he missed a birdie attempt, from 22 feet, on the last hole that would have broken the record.

Amazingly, the 28-year-old's career-best round on Saturday came after he'd stormed off the course trailing the Spanish halfway leader by seven shots the previous day.

"I guess that's just golf, to be honest. It's such a weird game," Smith said.

"I left frustrated yesterday. I felt like I hit my driver kind of everywhere and I scrambled really well and got the best out of my game but (I was) mad.

"I got here this morning, the body felt a little bit different and the ball striking was definitely a lot better."

Smith shrugged off his last-hole missed putt that would have thrust him into golf's exclusive "59 club".

"I just kind of went through what I'd done the rest of the day and that was just a misread. That's on me," he said, after his putt dribbled wide.

"I thought it was going to come a little bit off the bunker and it didn't. It is what it is."

Rahm recorded a four-under 68 to join Smith, with in-form South African Eric van Rooyen one shot back after equalling the one-day-old old course record of 62.

Americans Justin Thomas (67) and Tony Finau (68) are at 14 under, with Ireland's 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry (62), Norway's Victor Hovland (65) and American Tom Hoge (67) one stroke further behind in a share of sixth.

Smith's countrymen Cam Davis (68, six under) and Marc Leishman (69, five under) are well back but both firmly entrenched in the top 70 for a spot in next week's second play-off event - The BMW Championship.

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