Cameron Smith meets The Lakes Golf Club.
Cameron Smith came to The Lakes this week after his foreign career and felt that things were not so different. Heavy watering of the barrel and then some rain today left it soft and open for attacks.
While strong winds are expected this morning during the #AusOpenGolf 2018, Smith did not feel intimidated at all. Unless it blows, the course will certainly yield low scores.
"It's a bit soft at the moment, but there are clearly some reasons," said the Queenslander. "I think it will be very windy tomorrow and Saturday, so they're trying to hold on to a bit, I'd like to see it a little bit stronger, but it's what it is."
With 25 Smith is the 33rd player in the world and the highest Australian in the ranking this week. It is a unique experience for him; He was generally in the shadow of people like Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman among his compatriots. This time that trio does not appear, he is the man.
He has played a match against Jordan Spieth in the first of that pair in the last two open days, in Royal Sydney in 2016 and last year at The Australian and he is hungry in more than one way.
Back home, where he loves the cakes – "the thing I miss the most, for sure" – he came in after hard work and less downtime. "Typically I turn off after those Asian events and then come here for a few weeks, I've been working very hard these last weeks, Jacksonville and yes, I really want to get this, that's kind of determination, I think, of the hard work . "
Smith was the Australian amateur champion in 2013, but even he is amazed at how quickly he switched to the top of golf, making his first US Tour victory with Jonas Blixt at the pairs event, the Zurich Classic in Louisiana last year.
"Yes, if you had told me, I would have dreamed, to be honest," he said.
Among those who will push him hard this week, is Matt Kuchar, the American who arrived at The Lakes, after missing his connecting flight from Los Angeles through commitments in Mexico, where he won the Mayakoba tournament during the US Tour last Sunday
It was his first victory in the US Tour for more than four years and one of the sweetest. "There are times when you think & # 39; will I ever do it again?" He said.
Kuchar is 40 and has the perspective of the veteran, although he still wants to get better every year.
"I think I understand the ups and downs and the cycle of golf pretty well, I really hope to play well, expect to play well, but do not feel any extra pressure to play well. & # 39; & # 39;
Another player who is expected to appear is defending champion Cameron Davis, the local hero who won last year with a blood-curdling final round in The Australian. Since then he has won during the Web.com Tour and has secured his PGA Tour card for 2018-19. Davis, 23, is a sensational talent.
"I've improved a lot since last year," he said. "I think my bad golf is not that bad anymore and my good golf is a bit more frequent, I played really well at the right time at different points throughout the year, which helped me move forward. & # 39; & # 39;
The young man from the Roseville and Avondale golf clubs on the north coast had a big decision to come to the lakes; perhaps he should have stayed in the United States and worked on securing his playing rights for next season. Eventually he wanted to defend his title at home.
"Every week (on tour) you miss, other people pass you and you are just a little further away, you know that you are not forced to do well, but you are only one tournament further away from being where you should ", he said." So missing an event is a relatively big deal, but for this tournament it did not seem too difficult to be a decision. It is especially important to come back and defend a tournament like this. You know, it was not too heavy for me. & # 39; & # 39;
The first group of 156 players to beat it starts tomorrow morning at 6.45 AM (AEDT) with their trip to The Lakes.
Smith joins Anirban Lahiri of India and American Brandt Snedeker at 07.05 in one of the best groups of the day. Abraham Ancer from Kuchar, Davis and Mexico is one of the best groups of the afternoon golf and plays at 12.10.
The top three players in the Open will not be exempted and earn a place in the 2019 Open Championship in Royal Portrush.