10 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |
Smylie to draw on ‘obscene’ Smith inspiration for Aus PGA tilt
by PGA of Australia
Queensland teenager Elvis Smylie hopes to use an inside look at what it takes to become a top-10 player in the world to launch a bid for the Australian PGA Championship in his tournament debut starting Thursday.
As Smylie was reacquainting himself with the Royal Queensland Golf Club layout on Monday with course architect Mike Clayton on the bag, Smith was creating PGA TOUR history, recording the lowest 72-hole score in relation to par in winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
The excitement of the first major tournament on Australian soil in more than two years was palpable on Monday, players warmly greeting each other in a championship environment as they began their tournament preparations.
Adding to the atmosphere this week is the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship, LPGA Tour players Sarah Jane Smith, Su Oh and recent graduates Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson the major contenders for the Karrie Webb Cup.
Runner-up at the TPS Victoria event as an amateur 12 months ago and top-three at both the TPS Sydney and Golf Challenge NSW Open events shortly thereafter, Smylie made an instant impact on the professional scene.
A breakthrough win still eludes him but having spent time with Smith at his home in Florida three years ago the 19-year-old intends to use Smith’s stunning start to 2022 as his own springboard into a tournament triumph.
“It’s very inspirational,” Smylie said of Smith’s win in Maui.
“‘Clayts’ told me it was 34-under for the week. That’s obscene, to be able to shoot that kind of scoring. He’s such a great bloke, I’m very happy for him.
“I remember going back to 2019 where I spent a week with Cam over in Jacksonville. That was great to be able to get an insight of what life’s like on the PGA TOUR and most importantly what I need to do in order for me to get to that level.
“I think it was 17 at the time and that was a really good learning curve for me.
“I’ve had a couple of years since then to work on my game and find little holes that I might need to improve. I like to call them the 1 per cent stuff.
“It’s very inspiring. He’s such a legend of a guy. He’s such a down-to-earth guy.
“To be able to see him win, it was great to see that for him and for Australian golf.”
If Smith serves as the inspiration, Clayton will serve as Smylie’s key informant this week.
As the course architect of the current Royal Queensland layout Clayton knows better than anyone the tactical decisions that need to be made on each and every hole, information Smylie intends to use to his advantage.
“It means everything to be able to have a little bit of an inside scoop with the course’s own architect on your bag,” added Smylie, who endured back troubles in a short stint in Europe during the middle of the 2021 season.
“What you see is what you get around here. It’s very hard to be flabbergasted off the tee but it can get pretty tricky around the greens with all the undulation and slope. Being on the right side of the hole is quite important around here. Clayts and I will have that down pat.”
Play in both the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and Fortinet Australian WPGA Championship commences on Thursday. Tickets are available through Ticketek or the championship website and all four days will be broadcast Television coverage is 12pm-5pm AEDT each day on Fox Sports 503 and through Kayo.
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