03 Dec 2021 | Professional golf |

Injured Smyth's stunning start in Phuket

by PGA of Australia

Travis Smyth opened up with a seven-under 63 in Phuket.

By Tony Webeck

A stiff back and a sore foot hasn’t slowed down in-form New South Welshman Travis Smyth on day one of the Asian Tour’s Laguna Phuket Championship in Thailand.

Tenth last week in just his second international start since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Smyth kept the putts dropping at Laguna Golf Phuket as he and playing partner Bio Kim dominated the top of the leaderboard.

Smyth reeled off four birdies on the trot after starting his round from the ninth tee but it was two birdies in his final three holes that allowed him to bridge the gap on Kim late, signing for a round of seven-under 63 to be one stroke off the lead.

With thunderstorms forcing an early suspension of play, Andrew Martin (69), Will Heffernan (through 15 holes) and Kevin Yuan (through 14) are the next best of the Aussies at one-under as Smyth gave further credence to the old adage to beware the injured golfer.

“I was having a bad back last week but it’s better today,” said Smyth.

“I got help from the physios here. I was also coping with a bad foot from playing golf almost every day and got some lower back spasms that some golfers get.

“Had some sharp lingering pain last week but today wasn’t too bad.

“It’s definitely stiff. I have been working hard with the physio here every morning and after my rounds.

“Hopefully the back holds up for the rest of the week.”

Smyth hit 17 of 18 greens in his opening round and needed just 28 putts, conceding that some long-range efforts finding the bottom of the cup transformed a solid round into something far more impressive.

“I’m playing really good golf right now,” said Smyth, who like Kim is looking for his first win on the Asian Tour.

“I’m holing a little bit more putts than I normally would, around that 15 to 25-foot range.

“I’m hitting it fairly straight on this type of tight course and taking advantage of the par fives out there.”

Karis Davidson and Stephanie Kyriacou have both made a positive start to the LPGA Tour’s Q-Series tournament in Mobile, Alabama.

Needing a top-70 finish to advance to next week’s final qualifying tournament, Davidson (68) and Kyriacou (69) are tied for 15th at three-under after the opening round.

Playing the Falls Course that proved to be the tougher on day one, Davidson recovered after finding herself one-over through six holes with birdies at eight, 10, 11 and 18 to be well placed moving across to the Crossings Course.

Five of the top six scores on day one came at the Crossings Course where Kyriacou was three-under, the two-time Ladies European Tour winner going bogey-free with birdies at the second, third and 13th holes.

LPGA Tour regular Sarah Jane Smith shot 70 on the Crossings Course to be tied for 27th while Robyn Choi was fighting back late in her round, four-over through 16 holes on the Crossings Course.

In his first event since turning professional Queensland’s Louis Dobbelaar (73) is in a share of 65th late in the first round of the Argentine Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, level with Kiwi Denzel Ieremia (through 15 holes) and one clear of Sydney’s Tim Stewart (74).

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