Cam Smith tries his best body language to turn a putt into the hole today in Metropolitan. Photo: JUSTIN ROCKET FALCONER
As the key to World Cup team harmony, Marc Leishman and Cam Smith today placed a down payment on Australia's sixth crown.
Knotted with Korea and England on -10 on a well-filled scoreboard after a day of hot scoring at the Metropolitan Golf Course in Melbourne, the Australians were as loosely as pre-electoral pouch strings.
Even the international newcomer Smith, the early star with a series of front-nine birdies to get the Aussies rolling, found it easy to give his senior teammate a little cheek in the post-round media conference.
"I gave Leish a little bit of an upper cut under the ribs (the fourth hole)." I said: "You know, you can pop up anytime," Smith said with a broad smile
That summed up the day of the couple very well. No problems. No nice things. Just play solid golf with someone who is always in the hole in the free flowing Fourball format.
And with the three joint leaders followed closely by Malaysia, Belgium and defending champion Denmark at nine, then Ireland, India, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand and Venezuela, all within two others, it was important not to lose any ground. .
"I think it was very important for us to get off to a good start," Leishman said.
"You do not want to fight back the whole tournament (and) the scores were pretty good today, it was not so easy out there
"Cam had … his putter went today, which was great, and we combined pretty well, so that's what you have to do in that format, if you start things in the wrong way, especially if the circumstances are difficult, it can leave you behind.
"Hopefully we can continue to combine as we have been."
Smith, not surprisingly, fully agreed.
"I think we have combined very well," said the Queenslander.
"As Leish said, when one of us was a little in trouble, the other just touched the middle of the green, gave us 20, 30 feet and gave ourselves a chance of birdie.
"It's just easy to go the other way if you keep parsing and make some stupid mistakes (and it can be) difficult to come back, so yes, it's okay."
The Aussie boys were part of a moving tribute to Briony Lyle, widow of their dead friend Jarrod.
Leishman, who grew up in Victorian squadrons and played strings with Jarrod Lyle in the nearby Commonwealth Golf Club, knew Briony and her eldest daughter Lusi would honor his life on the seventh tee as part of the "Lyle Mile" but still had to breathe a touching hug from the Aussie and American teams for the two to rest.
"Yes, it was a difficult moment, but she's doing a lot harder than we do and if we can help her with that, that's a good thing," Leishman said.
"It was fun to see her, it was fun to shoot that tee away, to be honest, it was a hard tee-shot."
The Aussies wanted to kick the Americans from the front nine at various points, but suddenly came to a level when Matt Kuchar took a short eagle on the ninth to get both teams six.
And while the home team could not keep up with the daring Englishman or Koreans in the back, they let the injured Americans languish with four strokes at six o'clock with the tough four-format on the slate for tomorrow.
ROUND 2 TEE TIMES