13 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Smyth finds comfort in big company

by Tony Webeck

Travis Smyth Asian Tour image
Travis Smyth continues to flourish on the Asian Tour. Photo: Getty

He has been drawn alongside two of Asian golf’s brightest stars but New South Welshman Travis Smyth is adamant that it is company he is becoming accustomed to keeping. Smyth will tee it up in the opening two rounds of the International Series Vietnam with Thai pair Jazz Janewattananond and Gunn Charoenkul at the Greg Norman-designed KN Golf Links, one of 15 Aussies in the field. The fourth of the Asian Tour’s International Series events for 2023 and the eighth tournament of the season, International Series Vietnam breaks further new ground in a country that has seen golf tourism take off in the past decade. A third-place finish at the World City Championship in Hong Kong in his last start secured Smyth a major championship debut at The Open in July where his growing confidence at the top level will have its greatest test. But for now, as he continues to establish himself as one of the Asian Tour’s most consistent performers, Smyth is eager to provide further proof that he belongs. “I’ve knocked off a number of top 10s on the Asian Tour now and I’ve had a win last year, so I am starting to get really comfortable at this level of competition,” the 28-year-old told asiantour.com, breaking through at the Yeangder TPC in 2022. “It has been really good for my confidence to play well in Saudi against all the LIV players and even at all the International Series events now we’re getting a handful of LIV players competing every time. “When you start to beat those guys, you do get a little chip of confidence.” Smyth’s top-10 finishes this year have come at the PIF Saudi International, the International Series Qatar and the World City Championship in Hong Kong. The NSW South Coast native and Golf Australia Rookie Squad member has also played in Oman and Thailand, the diverse range of golf courses and conditions providing an unexpected connection to home. “When you turn up to those countries and it’s harsh weather, these are climates and conditions that I am used to coming from Sydney because we kind of get all four seasons in a day almost,” said Smyth, who is currently ranked No.281 in the world. “I am loving that aspect, getting out to other parts of Asia and other parts of the world and learning and competing to play in all different types of conditions. “It can only improve us as players if you look at it the right way.” The International Series Vietnam will see a handful of the best performers from the recently completed ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia take their games to their world stage. Two-time winner and Order of Merit runner-up Tom Power Horan, The National Tournament runner-up John Lyras and veterans Scott Hend, Marcus Fraser and Terry Pikadaris are just a few of the Aussies in action. Backing up from The Masters last week, Adam Scott, Min Woo Lee and Kiwi Ryan Fox are two of the five Australasians playing the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links and there are six Aussies playing in the island paradise of Hawaii in the LPGA Tour’s Lotte Championship. Won by Minjee Lee in 2016, the Lotte Championship provides a big opportunity for the likes of rookie Grace Kim, Su Oh, Karis Davidson and Sarah Jane Smith to improve their category ahead of future re-ranks. Beaten in a playoff on debut, Dimi Papadatos makes his second start on the Korn Ferry Tour at the Veritex Bank Championship in Texas where two-time PGA TOUR winner Steven Bowditch will also make a rare tournament appearance. Round 1 tee times AEST Asian Tour International Series Vietnam KN Golf Links, Vietnam 8.50am* Jack Murdoch, Runchanapong Youprayong, Dru Love 8.55am Harrison Gilbert-Wong, Quan Chi Truong, Kartik Sharma 9.10am* Tom Power Horan, Jyoti Randhawa, David Drysdale 9.35am Andrew Dodt, Shiv Kapur, Prayad Marksaeng 10.15am Marcus Fraser, Honey Baisoya, Hung Chien-yao 10.20am* John Lyras, Bjorn Hellgren, Turk Pettit 1.40pm Doug Klein, Dominic Foos, Shunya Takeyasu 1.45pm* Nick Voke (NZ), MJ Viljoen, Matthew Cheung 2.05pm* Ben Campbell (NZ), Seungtaek Lee, Natipong Srithong 2.15pm* Todd Sinnott, Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Siddikur Rahman 2.25pm* Kevin Yuan, Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Ian Snyman 2.30pm Travis Smyth, Jazz Janewattananond, Gunn Charoenkul 2.35pm* Terry Pilkadaris, Poom Saksansin, SSP Chawrasia 2.50pm Wade Ormsby, Paul Casey, Taichi Kho 2.55pm* Zach Murray, Miguel Carballo, Jarin Todd 3pm Scott Hend, Hideto Tanihara, Chapchai Nirat 3.10pm Jack Thompson, Jinichiro Kozuma, Rashid Khan Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil TV times: Live 4pm-8pm Thursday, Friday; Live 2pm-6pm Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 2pm-6pm Sunday on Fox Sports 507. PGA TOUR RBC Heritage Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 10.06pm Cam Davis, Richy Werenski, Andrew Landry 10.39pm Lucas Herbert, Kurt Kitayama, Seamus Power 2.11am* Ryan Fox (NZ), Nate Lashley, Mark Hubbard 3.17am Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth 4.01am Min Woo Lee, Aaron Rai, Carson Young Defending champion: Jordan Spieth Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1977), Greg Norman (1988), Peter Lonard (2005), Aaron Baddeley (2006) TV times: Live 4am-8am Friday, Saturday; Live 3am-8am Sunday and Monday on Fox Sports 503. LPGA Tour Lotte Championship Hoakalei Country Club, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii 3.11am Su Oh, Linnea Strom, Pernilla Lindberg 3.22am* Grace Kim, Sung Hyun Park, Charlotte Thomas 3.33am* Sarah Jane Smith, Lucy Li, Amy Olson 4.06am Stephanie Kyriacou, Kelly Tan, Brittany Altomare 8.17am Karis Davidson, Mi Hyang Lee, Xiaowen Yin 8.39am Sarah Kemp, Lizette Salas, Georgia Hall Defending champion: Hyo Joo Kim Past Aussie winners: Minjee Lee (2016) TV times: Live 9am-1pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo Sports. Korn Ferry Tour Veritex Bank Championship Texas Rangers Golf Club, Arlington, Texas 11.18pm* Steven Bowditch, Paul Haley II, Joe Highsmith 3.56am* Brett Drewitt, Norman Xiong, Tom Whitney 4.06am* Rhein Gibson, Michael Gligic, Wil Bateman 4.17am* Curtis Luck, Patrick Fishburn, Chase Seiffert 5.20am Dimi Papadatos, Christopher Petefish, Abel Gallegos Defending champion: Tyson Alexander Past Aussie winners: Nil Japan Golf Tour Kansai Open Golf Championship Izumigaoka Country Club, Osaka 8.15am* Andrew Evans, Daisuke Yasumoto, Shohei Hasegawa 1.05pm* Brendan Jones, Tamaki Minagi (a), Katsumata Mausoleum 1.50pm Brad Kennedy, Kouhei Tsuda (a), Tomoyasu Sugiyama 2.25pm* Dylan Perry, Ryota Wakahara, Kenta Endo Defending champion: Kazuki Higa Past Aussie winners: Brad Kennedy (2013) PGA TOUR Canada PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament USA West 2 Soboba Springs GC, San Jacinto, California After Round 1 T19 Cory Crawford 70 T41 Grant Booth 72 T70 Alexander Bottrell 74 T90 Jerry Song 76

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