12 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour: Relaxed Smith ready for another Hawaiian adventure
by Dane Heverin
Fresh off breaking the record for the lowest score in PGA Tour history in his victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Cameron Smith cannot wait for the Sony Open in Hawaii this week.
The world number ten returns to Waialae Country Club on the island of Honolulu - where he won in 2020 - brimming with confidence after ranking first in shots gained off the tee and putting at Kapalua to get the better of world number one Jon Rahm.
“I’ve got a really good history there. Obviously I’ve won there before. I love the golf course,” Smith said.
“It reminds me so much of where I grew up playing golf. I feel really comfortable around there and I can’t wait for Thursday.”
The Queenslander who hails from Wantima Country Club - which is located roughly 30 minutes north of Brisbane - is fitting in seamlessly with the laid back nature of the Hawaiian islands and it appears the rest of the Tour’s Australian contingent are too.
Matt Jones broke the record for the lowest 36-hole score by shooting 23-under par across the weekend to finish third in Maui, while Marc Leishman and Cam Davis shared tenth place.
If Smith is unable to make it back-to-back wins to start the year, he expects one of his countrymen to thrive in the home-like environment and lift the trophy.
“There’s a lot that reminds us of home in Hawaii. Obviously the mountains and the grass we play off is very similar to where I grew up,” Smith said.
“I think Aussies play well when we’re relaxed and we’re all relaxed here in Hawaii - everyone is.
“It is as close as we get to home on the PGA Tour.”
The Asian Tour is also in action this week as it resumes for the first time in 2022 with four Australians teeing it up in the penultimate event of the season - the inaugural Singapore International at the Tanah Merah Country Club.
South Australian Wade Ormsby is leading the Tour’s Order of Merit and is looking to keep hold of that position ahead of the season-ending Singapore Open, while New South Welshman Travis Smyth is one to watch after playing well to finish 2021 despite injury concerns.
Round 1 Tee Times AEDT
The Sony Open
Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
4:20am Cameron Percy, Sepp Straka, Roger Sloan
9:20am* Cam Davis, Seamus Power, Charles Howell III
9:40am Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Sungjae Im
9:50am Cameron Smith, Talor Gooch, Kevin Na
10:20am Brett Drewitt, Curtis Thompson, Chan Kim
Defending champion: Kevin Na
Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1969), Brett Ogle (1994) and Cameron Smith (2020).
Top Aussie prediction: Cameron Smith
Tanah Merah Country Club, Singapore
Australians in the field: Wade Ormsby, Travis Smyth, Daniel Fox, Ben Eccles.
Defending champion: inaugural tournament
Top Aussie prediction: Wade Ormsby
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