23 Apr 2021 | Professional golf |
Smith thrives on teammate’s clip
by Martin Blake
Cameron Smith took a haircut from his playing partner Marc Leishman and then ran hot on the golf course as the Australian pair put themselves in contention for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans today.
Sporting a new look with clean shaven sides, Smith made seven birdies and an eagle and the Australians did not make a single bogey in the opening 63, nine under par in the pairs best-ball event which is part of the US PGA Tour.
They are tied-third after the first round, a shot behind Norwegian pair Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura at 10 under.
The 27-year-old Queenslander Smith had previously won this event, with Jonas Blixt, in 2017, and he relishes playing alongside Victorian Leishman, with whom he paired to a runner-up finish in the World Cup in Melbourne in 2018.
Smith said Leishman had volunteered with the clippers. “Well, I said I needed to get a cut and I was going to go get one yesterday afternoon. ‘Leish’ said, I can do it, I cut my boys' hair at home. So I put faith in him, and I think he did a pretty good job.”
He also said Leishman had it easy. “I mean, the lines were there. I had a barber do it last year, so all Leish had to do was like a coloring in, just don't go outside the lines. I had a pretty good template to work with. It wasn't too tough.”
Leishman was unfussed. “During the quarantine, the start of last year when all the hairdressers were closed, my boys were getting a bit scruffy and I cut their hair,” he said. “I will say I was a bit nervous the first few chunks I took out, but they turned out pretty good, so I was confident I could handle the short sides for Cam.”
The big Victorian was in awe of Smith’s game on the day, after the Queenslander hit it to tap-in range at the first and then bombed a 10-metre eagle at the second. “I had the pars covered on most holes, and he had the birdies covered,” said Leishman.
“I was there on a couple holes when he made bogeys, and likewise, the holes I struggled on he was there. It was great to be playing with someone who's got a hot putter and putting himself in good positions on pretty much every hole. It made my job pretty easy. Hopefully I can fire up tomorrow and be ready for the foursomes.”
It was a good day for the Australian contingent overall, with Aaron Baddeley in the top 10 with Canadian Roger Sloan after their opening 64, while Matt Jones (with American JJ Spaun) is tied-15th after a 65.
MAVERICK Antcliff and Jake McLeod shot opening 65s to be tied-25th at the European Tour's Gran Canaria Open.
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