Refreshed Smith pumped for new PGA season

Darren WaltonAAP
Cameron Smith is fresh and ready to contend again in his PGA Tour season opener in Las Vegas.
Camera IconCameron Smith is fresh and ready to contend again in his PGA Tour season opener in Las Vegas. Credit: AP

Mentally refreshed and physically primed, Cameron Smith is chomping at the bit to kick-start his US PGA Tour season.

But the understated Australian No.1 isn't making any bold promises, despite cementing his place in the world's top 30 and emerging as a genuine majors contender in a record-setting past 12 months.

In a spectacular 2020-21 season, Smith became the first player in Masters history to shoot four rounds in the 60s in finishing runner-up to Dustin Johnson last November and then placed in the top 10 at Augusta National once more in its traditional April timeslot.

He needed only 18 putts, the fewest in PGA Tour history, during the second round of the WGC St Jude Invitational and shattered the course record with an 11-under-par 60 at the Northern Trust Open Open in August.

Throw in a second victory at the Zurich Classic teams' event, this time with countryman Marc Leishman in May and a runner-up showing at the second FedExCup play-off event last month and last season was a ripper for Smith.

Next step, presumably, is winning his maiden major, not that the 28-year-old would ever so say publicly.

"I've never really been one to really think about that stuff. I've always been kind of a process-goal guy," Smith said before the CJ Cup starting in Las Vegas on Friday.

"That's how I've kind of taken my career on, I guess, just take off all the little stuff at home and make sure I keep making myself better every day and I believe that the results will come."

The two-time Australian PGA Championship winner is at least publicising his immediate goal after recharging the batteries in the wake of his jaded finish to last season at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

"I'm obviously here to try and compete and hopefully at the end of the week have a trophy," Smith said.

"My body was getting a little bit worn out there towards the end of the season, just a little bit tired.

"But I'm definitely feeling excited to be back on the golf course again. Through that last period of the season, it can get pretty overwhelming.

"I just want to be back out here, so it's a nice feeling to have because probably towards the end of the season that wasn't the case."

Joining Smith in the 78-man field for the no-cut four-round event at The Summit Club are fellow Australians Jason Day, also in his first start of the new season, Leishman, Adam Scott, Matt Jones and Cam Davis.

The stacked field includes seven of the world's top 10 players - and 36 of the top 50.

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