29 Jun 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Unlikely duo qualify for US Senior Open

by Tony Webeck

Mick Smith US Senior Open

One left Sydney as a teenager to play college golf in Alabama, the other is a former PGA Trainee of the Year who has spent almost 30 years in Germany.

Mick Smith (pictured) and Paul Archbold don’t typically appear in senior men’s major championships but the pair will this week tee it up against a host of major champions and Hall of Famers at the US Senior Open in Wisconsin.

Smith and Archbold both earned their spots in the field via Final Qualifying last month, Smith earning medalist honours at Stevens Point Country Club in Wisconsin and Archbold finishing second at Arcola Country Club in New Jersey.

Based at Summit, two hours south of SentryWorld Golf Course where the US Senior Open is being played, Smith’s qualification is one of the more unlikely within the field.

A talented tennis player growing up in Sydney, Smith switched to golf at the age of 15 and advanced quickly.

An opportunity to play golf at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama emerged in 1997 and, other than a year back home playing the PGA Tour of Australasia, Smith has resided in America ever since.

He gave lessons at various golf courses but took his consultancy to new heights when he converted his three-car garage in Summit into an indoor training centre fully equipped with TrackMan technology.

Not only did it expand his client base, but ensured Smith’s own game was kept up to scratch in Wisconsin’s frigid winters.

“It saved my sanity in the winter and probably helped my golf game a lot as well,” Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Winner of Wisconsin PGA Section events such as the WPGA Championship (2020, 2021) and WPGA Match Play Championship (2022), Smith’s older brother Mark has flown in from Sydney to share a week mixing with the likes of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker.

And while an admitted Ernie Els fan, Smith insists it will be all business once his name is called in the first group off the 10th tee at 10pm Thursday night AEST.

“It’s not my job to worry about what they're doing,” Smith said of his legendary contemporaries.

“My job is to play my style of golf and get the ball into the hole as best I can. If I do that, then everything will take care of itself.”

Archbold has slightly more experience at the highest level having played the 1990 Open Championship at St Andrews and the WINSTONgolf Senior Open on the Legends Tour in Europe in 2018.

The Director of Golf at the Golf-Und Country Club Seddiner See six hours north of Munich since 2009, Archbold played on tour for six years before taking on the role as Head Professional at Golfclub Gatow in Berlin in 1994.

Other Australians in the field are Richard Green, Peter Fowler, Stuart Appleby, Mark Hensby and Rod Pampling along with Kiwis Steven Alker and Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open champion.

Elsewhere this week Min Woo Lee has crossed the Atlantic to headline the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry where reigning PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner David Micheluzzi has accepted an invitation to take part.

Champion in 2021, Cam Davis leads the Aussie charge at the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic while there are six Australians teeing it up at the Sega Sammy Cup on the Japan Golf Tour.

Round 1 tee times AEST

PGA TOUR Rocket Mortgage Classic Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, Michigan 10.24pm Dylan Frittelli, Aaron Baddeley, Brandon Wu 2.21am* Harry Higgs, Justin Suh, Harrison Endycott 2.43am Sepp Straka, Cam Davis, Adam Hadwin 4am* Jason Dufner, Cameron Percy, MJ Daffue

Defending champion: Tony Finau Past Aussie winners: Cam Davis (2021) TV times: Thursday and Friday 11pm-8am; Sunday and Monday 3am-8am on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo

DP World Tour Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England 5.50pm* Daniel Hillier (NZ), David Micheluzzi, Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen 9.30pm* Kazuki Higa, Haotong Li, Jason Scrivener 10.30pm Thorbjorn Olesen, Victor Perez, Min Woo Lee 11.30pm Blake Windred, Andrew Wilson, Craig Lee

Defending champion: Thorbjorn Olesen Past Aussie winners: Robert Allenby (1996), Greg Norman (1981, 1982), Graham Marsh (1979), Peter Thomson (1961, 1968), Norman Von Nida (1948) TV times: Thursday and Friday 10.30pm-3.30am on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo; Saturday 11pm-2.30am, Sunday 9.30pm-2.30am on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo

Ladies European Tour Ladies Open by Pickala Pickala Golf, Finland 3.30pm Pravani Urs, Hanee Song (NZ), Dolnapa Zukphokinvanich 4.14pm Lauren Taylor, Wenyung Keh (NZ), Ridhima Dilawari 4.36pm* Anais Meyssonnier, Isabella, Deilert, Momoka Kobori (NZ) 9.05pm* Manta Sanz Barrio, Alexandra Forsterling, Kirsten Rudgeley

Defending champion: Anne-Charlotte Mora Past Aussie winners: Nil TV times: Friday and Saturday 8pm-11pm on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo

Senior US Open SentryWorld Golf Course, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 10pm* Mick Smith, Mark McCormick, Scott Petersen 11.03pm* Vijay Singh, Ken Duke, Rod Pampling 11.24pm* Kris Blanks, Richard Green, Fran Quinn 11.34pm Steven Alker (NZ), Miguel Angel Jimenez, Mark Hensby 4.12am* Euan McIntosh, Peter Fowler, Brian Gay 4.33am* Brett Quigley, Steve Flesh, Stuart Appleby 4.43am* Michael Campbell (NZ), Scott Parel, Billy Andrade 5.36am* Danny King, Paul Archbold, Scott Cornette (a)

Defending Champion: Padraig Harrington Past Aussie Winners: Graham Marsh (1997) TV times: Friday and Saturday 3.30am-10am; Sunday 2am-7am; Monday 4am-9am on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo

Japan Golf Tour Shigeo Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup The North Country Golf Club, Hokkaido 8.40am Anthony Quayle, Naoyuki Kataoka, Shunya, Takeyasu 9.25am* Yuto Katsumata, Yuto Soeda, Andrew Evans 9.35am* Koshiro Maeda, Dylan Perry, Yuki Mori 9.40am Michio Matsumura, Tauya Higa, Adam Bland 9.50am Toshiumi Kushioka, Matthew Griffin, Shingo Ito 1.10pmTomoyo Ikemura, Brendan Jones, Koumei Oda

Defending Champion: Hiroshi Iwata Past Aussie Winners: Brad Kennedy (2018)

Korn Ferry Tour Memorial Health Championship Panther Creek Country Club, Springfield, Illinois 9.40pm* Curtis Luck, Rob Oppenheim, Logan McAllister 10.22pm Rhein Gibson, Whee Kim, Tim Widing 10.22pm* Chandler Phillips, Brett Drewitt, Kevin Dougherty

Defending champion: Paul Haley II Past Aussie winners: Brett Drewitt (2020)

Challenge Tour Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil, Le Vaudreuil, France Aussies in the field: Jordan Zunic

Defending champion: Nathan Kimsey Past Aussie winners: Nil

PGA Tour Latinoamerica Bupa Tour Championship PGA Riviera Maya, Tulum, Mexico 11.09pm* Harry Hillier (NZ), Max Sekulic, Dalan Refioglu 12.01am Charlie Hillier (NZ), Austin Hitt, Conner Godsey

Defending champion: Jesus Montenegro Past Aussie winners: Nil

PGA Tour Canada ATB Classic Northern Bear, Strathcona County, Alberta 11.03pm Etienne, Brault, Cory Crawford, Tyler Falk 4.40am Jason Hong, Nicholas Tentuta, Tyson Dinsmore 6am Jonathan Yaun, Jack Trent, William Holcomb

Defending champion: Wil Bateman Past Aussie winners: Nil

LIV Golf Valderrama Real Club Valderrama, Cadiz, Spain Australians in the field: Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Jediah Morgan, Danny Lee (NZ)

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil TV times: Friday and Saturday 11.15pm-4.15am; Sunday 11.05pm-4.05am on Channel 7 and 7 Plus

* Starting from 10th tee

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