11 Nov 2021 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Smith chasing top-20 status

by PGA of Australia

Cameron Smith CJ image
Cameron Smith has surged in 2021. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

A coveted spot inside the world’s top 20 is on offer as Cameron Smith endeavours to add his name to an impressive list of Aussie winners at the PGA Tour’s Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open in Texas.

Almost 50 years since Bruce Devlin picked up $US25,000 for his two-stroke victory in 1972, Smith arrives at Memorial Park Golf Course on the back of a top-10 finish at the CJ Cup and with a growing reputation as a perennial tournament contender.

His playoff loss at the Northern Trust had him positioned to become Australia’s first FedEx Cup champion and another strong showing this week will propel him inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career.

The Houston Open has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Aussies over the years with Devlin’s victory followed a year later by Bruce Crampton, who would go on to win again in 1975 and be inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1992.

Devlin and 1983 Houston Open champion David Graham also feature in the Texas Golf Hall of Fame while in more recent years Stuart Appleby (1999, 2006), Robert Allenby (2000), Adam Scott (2007) and Matt Jones (2014) have added their names to the list of tournament champions.

Scott, who played a practice round with Smith on Tuesday, returns to Memorial Park for the second straight year after finishing tied for 32nd in 2020 while Jason Day will be out to build on his top-10 finish from 12 months ago to arrest his slide down the world rankings.

The European Tour reaches its penultimate week of the 2021 season at the Greg Norman-designed Fire Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai for the AVIV Dubai Championship. Queenslander Scott Hend currently sits in 124th position in the Race to Dubai standings and needs to climb at least three spots this week to retain his full playing privileges for the 2022 season.

Min Woo Lee (sixth) and Jason Scrivener (16th) are guaranteed to progress to the DP World Tour Championship and should feel comfortable on the Fire Course that boasts elements similar to those found on Australian courses.

Rod Pampling and Kiwi Steven Alker will both contest the Charles Schwab Cup Championship finale on the Champions Tour this week, Anthony Quayle leads the four-strong Aussie contingent at the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters in Japan and Su Oh is out to improve on her position of 43rd on the LPGA Tour moneylist at the Pelican Women’s Championship in Florida. Round 1 tee times AEDT PGA Tour Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston, Texas 12.24am Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, John Huh 12.35am Marc Leishman, Tony Finau, Matthew Wolff 4.58am Cam Davis, Jim Herman, Adam Long 4.58am* Jason Day, Hudson Swafford, Brian Harman 5.20am* Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Tyrrell Hatton Defending champion: Carlos Ortiz Past Aussie winners: Bruce Devlin (1972), Bruce Crampton (1973, 1975), David Graham (1983), Stuart Appleby (1999), Robert Allenby (2000), Stuart Appleby (2006), Adam Scott (2007), Matt Jones (2014) Top Aussie prediction: Marc Leishman TV schedule: Live 5am-8am Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 European Tour AVIV Dubai Championship Jumeirah Golf Estates (Fire Course), Dubai, UAE 2.20pm* Jason Scrivener, Dean Burmester, Victor Perez 2.40pm* Min Woo Lee, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood 7.10pm Scott Hend, Eddie Pepperell, Tom Lewis Defending champion: Antoine Rozner Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Min Woo Lee TV schedule: Live 7pm-12am Thursday, Friday; Live 7pm-11.30pm Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503 Japan Golf Tour Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters Taiheiyo Club (Gotemba Cse), Shizuoka 10.50am Todd Sinnott, Seungsu Han, Takashi Iwamoto 10.55am* David Bransdon, Tomohiro Ishizaka, Hyun-Woo Ryu 11.10am Anthony Quayle, Yosuke Asaji, Hiroshi Iwata 12.45pm* Dylan Perry, Koki Shiomi, Naoki Sekito Defending champion: Jinichiro Kozuma Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1987), Roger Mackay (1991), Greg Norman (1993), Brendan Jones (2007) Top Aussie prediction: Dylan Perry LPGA Tour Pelican Women’s Championship Pelican Golf Club, Belleair, Florida 11.11pm Katherine Kirk, Azahara Munoz, Annie Park 11.22pm* Su Oh, Yealimi Noh, Gaby Lopez 12.17am* Sarah Jane Smith, Alena Sharp, Kristen Gillman 3.48am* Lydia Ko, Sophia Popov, Ally Ewing 4.21am* Sarah Kemp, Perrine Delacour, Lauren Stephenson Defending champion: Sei Young Kim Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Su Oh TV schedule: Live 2am-5am Friday, Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 5am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 507 Ladies European Tour Aramco Team Series Jeddah Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Saudi Arabia Round 2 tee times 2.58pm* Stephanie Kyriacou, Lina Boqvist, Laura Beveridge 7.42pm* Whitney Hillier, Chloe Williams, Anais Meyssonnier Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou TV schedule: Live 10pm-2am Wednesday on Fox Sports 503; Live 10pm-2am Thursday, Friday on Fox Sports 507; 1am-3am Saturday on Fox Sports 503 Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Championship Phoenix Country Club, Phoenix, Arizona Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Rod Pampling Defending champion: Kevin Sutherland Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Rod Pampling TV schedule: Live 8am-10.30am Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503

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