Australia's Smith looking to end career-best year on a high




 

World number three Cameron Smith started his career-best year with a win and said Tuesday was determined to end it with another at golf's Australian Open this week.

The Australian began 2022 by shooting the lowest score in US PGA Tour history to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

He claimed two more PGA Tour victories, including a first major at the British Open at St Andrews in July, before defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, where he won in Chicago.

Back in his homeland after three Covid-impacted years away, the 29-year-old kept the momentum going to clinch the Australian PGA Championship last weekend and he has one more victory for the year in his sights.

"It would be a really nice way to finish off a really good year," he said ahead of the DP World Tour-sanctioned Australian Open in Melbourne.

"The plan was to come down here and win both of them and I ticked one box and hopefully can do one more this week."

Smith has the chance to become the first person to win Australia's two marquee men's events in the same year since Robert Allenby in 2005 and he wants to put on a show as he chases the feat.

"I think these golf courses (Victoria and Kingston Heath) are a really good mix between links golf and almost like Augusta," he said.

"You get to play plenty of shots, you have to, to play good golf around here. I feel like I play my best golf when I'm creative and I'm just happy to be down here."

The men's and women's Australian Open will take place at the same time and the same venues this year as part of efforts to widen golf's appeal.

Held at the famous Sandbelt area of Melbourne, the Victoria Golf Club will be the primary venue across all four days with Kingston Heath Golf Club hosting play on the opening two days.

Men and women will earn equal prize money, with South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai, also the British Open champion, headlining the women's field.

"I think it will be good for the game," said Smith. "I think the crowds will be enormous and I just think it will be a good week."

mp/dh

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