Golf-Australian Smith riding high ahead of final stop in Hawaii

PGA: Sentry Tournament of Champions - Final Round
January 9, 2022; Maui, Hawaii, USA; Cameron Smith putts on the 13th hole during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

January 12, 2022

(Reuters) – Australian Cameron Smith needed just one tournament this year to reach his goal of cracking the top 10 in the world rankings and with that objective checked off his to-do list he is in no hurry to plot his next move.

Smith vaulted to a career-high 10th in the rankings from 21st after his record-setting victory at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, where his 34-under-par total was the most under par score in a four-round PGA Tour event.

“I’ve never really wanted to expect anything of myself, I’ve always been a process kind of guy,” Smith said on Wednesday at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu ahead of this week’s Sony Open.

“I feel like if I tick all the boxes I’m going to play some good golf.”

Smith, who won the Sony Open in 2020, joined Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Zach Johnson and Justin Thomas as the only players to win both stops on the PGA Tour’s Hawaii swing.

While Smith, a four-times PGA Tour winner, acknowledged he will have to reassess his goals after a solid start to 2022, he is in no hurry.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to obviously process it at the moment,” said Smith. “Maybe in a week or two, I’ll be able to sit down and really go through some stuff and set some more goals.”

Smith rode a steady driver to victory last week and admitted that while he did spend time during the offseason addressing technical issues he kept things to a minimum.

“I’m not really the hardest practicer in the world, so I used to get through my wedges and irons and then be like, oh, I’m all right, I’ll just go home and hit one or two drives,” said Smith.

The Brisbane native will play the first two rounds with defending champion Kevin Na and American world number 32 Talor Gooch.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)