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Smith excited to defend Gold Coast crown at home

November 27, 2018

Cameron Smith is confident he can continue his solid run of form as he prepares to defend his Australian PGA Championship crown in front of family and friends this week.

Smith excited to defend Gold Coast crown at home, © Getty Images

- Getty Images

“I have been playing some good golf. I think last week was really important just playing with Marc and having someone there that it affects as well. I think maybe the last couple months or so I've been playing really good golf, but I've probably been on the aggressive side maybe a little bit too much, and last week was a nice reminder having someone hitting your next shot that sometimes being in the middle of the greens and having 20, 30 feet is the best option. So I'll definitely take a lot from last week."

“I've been playing really good all year basically, the last couple years. I compete with those guys every week and it's not that I don't think there's necessarily a group of us that are like that's what we are. I think we're all just good competitors and we love the good thing about Australian golfers is we love seeing everyone play well. When Leish is playing well, I'm out there supporting him. Same with Scotty and Jason, I want them to win. Not many other countries have that culture, so it's nice, and it's nice that we're all backing each other trying to make each other better."

The World Number 33, who arrived on the Gold Coast following a tied second finish as half of Team Australia at the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf, is excited to be back at home and the familiar surroundings of RACV Royal Pines.

“My next goal for myself is to make myself a top 20 player in the world. I've made myself a top 50 player in the world, which was the goal for the last couple years. Finally got that done earlier this year. Obviously, getting that far up is a really big step and something that I want to do, but definitely not a time frame thing. I'm just trying to make myself better every day. If it happens, it happens."

“It does get a bit tricky around here around the greens. It definitely doesn't hurt to have a nice short game. I practise most of my time on the practice fairways around the greens and putting and stuff like that. It's something that I like to do, I like to be creative and this golf course allows you to be creative, heaps of swales and you have to hit plenty of shots along ridges and backstops and stuff like that, and I love doing that stuff, I think it's so fun.”

Smith overcame Jordan Zunic in a play-off after a dramatic final round to claim the Kirkwood Cup - the oldest trophy in Australian Professional Golf - with the Queensland native three shots off the lead on the final day before defeating fellow Australian Zunic at the second play-off hole.

The 25 year old has been a consistent performer on the world stage since, with three top 20 finishes to his name at this event, and has gained valuable knowledge from partnering fellow Australian Marc Leishman at the World Cup last week. The World Number 21 joins Smith in the field this week after already notching up his first win on the 2019 PGA Tour last month.

Meanwhile Major Champion Geoff Ogilvy, a winner of this event in 2008, will tee it up for the first time since 2012 as he looks to revitalise his golf career in Australia and on the global stage. The 2006 US Open Champion also urged Australian sports fans take note of rising star Smith, believing the Queenslander is on the verge of becoming a top ten player in the world.

“The European co-sanction is huge for Australians, it's really big, especially for the young guys. It's really important and it's definitely the best carrot we have to get guys kind of in the middle of do I come or not, well it's Europe, so I better go. It's an important thing for us."

“It's seems to get better all the time, and he (Cameron Smith) doesn't get nervous. He is impressive on the last nine holes and hangs in there, and that's the sign that you see with him that I think he just needs to get in those positions a few more times. He will be more comfortable and that will get him to the top ten or top 20 in the world."

“Australians need to watch Cam Smith. He's really good. He's got the respect of the whole locker room in the US, and that's hard to get. To this point, every single time you see him play he's a little bit better than the last time. You can't say that about many guys. He's improving at a nice rate. He's easily one of the top 40, 50 guys, one that people notice and top 40 or 50, that's really, really good. He could be a year way from being a top ten guy.”