27 Mar 2021 | Professional golf |
A mental giant in a teen frame
by Mark Hayes
Try to forget what you think you already know about Elvis Smylie.
That he had an albatross and an eagle today at Concord en route to a 64 and a title shot in the Golf Challenge New South Wales Open tomorrow.
That after near cyclonic conditions affected his opening-round 75 at TPS Victoria – as an amateur – two months ago, the lithe left-hander has averaged 67.25 strokes in 12 subsequent rounds on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
And that included in those rounds are a pair of 72s en route to a missed cut in his home state open at Pelican Waters a fortnight ago.
No, try to think of him in light of a response he offered to a post-round question today after his extraordinary scoring power was exemplified in a day’s low seven-under round that featured seven pars (!!) to start, two subsequent bogeys and four (!!) three-putts.
And as you do that, keep in mind he is 18 and playing his third event as a professional and that it was said with not a hint of arrogance.
“For sure, (my knowledge of my scoring power) is a mental weapon,” Smylie said.
“Right now, my main focus is being the best mental golfer out there.
“My game’s great, it’s always going to be great. It’s just what’s going on upstairs is the most important thing and I have that working the majority of time and when I’m playing golf well, it’s probably the best.
“It’s great to have that tool in the bag and be able to switch it on when I need to go low.”
Yep, 18 years old.
And with four rounds of 65 or better in his first full two months on the Australian professional scene, Smylie is golf’s Superman in the making.
Not only because of his scoring power, but the way he goes from a warm and mild-mannered Clark Kent type off course to an impenetrable and blinkered force of nature on it.
“I try not to show any emotion (out there) and to keep a poker face all day,” Smylie said.
“I try to have no reaction, whether (I score) an albatross or a double.
“It’s an awesome feeling to have.”
Smylie said he never gets caught up in a good score on the course, preferring to think that it’s “an end-product of all the good work I do in my routine and process”.
But then that 18-year-old grin breaks out when asked about his love of the low score at the end of the day …
“Oh yeah, it’s always nice to go into the scoring hut and see all the circles.”
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