AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Cameron Smith, who this week will try to become only the second Australian to win the Masters, said on Monday his biggest weapon at Augusta National will be how comfortable he is taking risks on the unforgiving Augusta National layout.
That approach has served Smith well in the past as the world number six has made the cut in all five of his Masters starts, including two top 10s and a runner-up finish in 2020 when he became the first player to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds.
“I feel like I play my best golf when I’m creative,” Smith, a five times winner on the PGA Tour, told reporters during his pre-tournament news conference at Augusta National.
“This course has so many, you know, slopes and stuff, you can work it off the greens firm and fast. And, yeah, just love being creative.”
The 28-year-old Smith, with two wins to his name already this season, enters the week as perhaps Australia’s best chance for a Masters champion since Adam Scott slipped into the coveted Green Jacket after his breakthrough win in 2013.
Smith said information he has gathered over the years from fellow Australians Scott and Marc Leishman, who posted his third career top-10 Masters finish last year, has taught him a lot about navigating Augusta National.
“I’m not afraid to hit different shots around here,” said Smith. “It can be, you know, very hard to hit the shot that you want to hit around here because you know if it doesn’t come off, you could be in some pretty deep trouble. I’m not afraid to do that. I want to hit the right shot, and I want to get it close.”
The unflappable and in-form Smith will bring a new level of confidence to the first tee on Thursday having already secured a pair of impressive wins this year.
Smith set a PGA Tour record with a score of 34 under par to claim the title at Kapalua Golf Club in January and then picked up the biggest win of his career two months later at The Players Championship where he carded 10 final-round birdies.
“Pretty good time of year to be playing good golf,” said Smith, who is rock-solid with his irons and has a short game that is among the best on tour.
“You know, it’s just nice to contend. Still been working hard the last couple of weeks at home and, yeah, I really can’t wait to get back out here this week.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)