25 Mar 2022 | Professional golf |

Smyth dumps driver to lead in Delhi

by PGA of Australia

Travis Smyth in action during the first round in Delhi.

By Tony Webeck

Golf Australia rookie squad member Travis Smyth removed all temptation to play his way into a share of the lead on day one of the Asian Tour’s The DGC Open at Delhi Golf Club in India.

Smyth and India’s Shankar Das both opened with rounds of five-under 67 to be one clear of Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong and Indian Veer Ahlawat who both carded 68s on the Lodhi course recently re-designed by South African great Gary Player.

Fellow Aussies Kevin Yuan (71), Cory Crawford (72) and Jack Munro (72) all sit within the top 25 heading into Friday’s second round but it was Smyth’s decision to leave his driver back in the hotel that proved the catalyst to his strong start.

Reasoning that he would only use the longest club in the club on one hole at the notoriously tight golf course, Smyth did something he has never done before to best navigate his way around the Delhi Golf Club layout.

“I’d like to know if this is actually the tightest golf course in the world because if there is a course out there tighter than this then I don’t want to play it,” said Smyth following a round that included an eagle at the par-5 14th, four birdies and a lone bogey.

“I took the driver out of my bag for the first time in my life. I didn’t bring it to the course, there might be one hole, where I could use it – on hole No.3 – but I thought I would just use 3-wood, take driver out and have an extra club in the bag.

“My strength is my iron play so not having my driver out here, I am quite happy with that. All the par 4s I am hitting between a 5-iron or 2-iron off the tee, leaving myself 8-irons to wedges in.”

Having teed off on 10 his round quickly got going when he eagled the par-five 14th.

“I had planned to play it as a three-shot hole, but the ball ran out much further,” said Smyth, who took 2-iron off the tee.

“I thought I had better go for the green and I hit one of the best high 3-irons of my life up onto the top shelf, about 15 feet and holed the putt.”

Riding the wave of momentum that comes with his best result in two years, Curtis Luck also finds himself near the top of the leaderboard late in the first round of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Lake Charles Championship in Louisiana.

Top five at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open only a few days ago, Luck began his round with a birdie and added three more before the turn.

Further birdies at 11 and 17 and a lone bogey at 16 saw the 25-year-old West Australian post five-under 67 to earn a share of the lead, American Will Gordon relegating Luck and Braden Thornberry to a share of second with a round of six-under 66.

In other tournament news around the world Wade Ormsby (68) is tied for eighth after the first round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Hannah Green is two-under early in her opening round of the LPGA Tour’s JTBC Classic and Cameron Percy is the sole Aussie under par at the PGA TOUR’s Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic.

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