Watching his mentor Cam Smith’s “obscene” win in the Tournament of Champions has inspired Elvis Smylie to reach similar heights at this week’s Australian PGA at Royal Queensland.
Queenslander Smith shot -34, the lowest tournament score in PGA Tour history, at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii to beat world No.1 Jon Rahm on Monday by one shot.
“That’s obscene, to be able to shoot that kind of scoring,” young gun Smylie said.
“It doesn’t matter what golf course you play, you still have to shoot that. To be able to see that happen, it was ridiculous.
“It’s very inspiring, He’s such a legend of a guy and he’s such a down to earth guy, so to be able to see him win, it was great to see that for him and Australian golf.”
Smylie spent a week with Smith in Jacksonville, Florida in 2019, and described it as a “really good learning curve”.
“It was great to be able to get an insight to what life’s like on the PGA Tour, and most importantly what I need to do in order for me to get to that level,” he said.
“I was 17 at the time, so I’ve had a couple of years since then to work on my game, and find little holes that I might need to improve … the one per cent stuff.”
Apart from the inspiration provided by Smith, left-hander Smylie’s hopes of winning this week in his Australian PGA debut will also be aided by his caddie, none other than Royal Queensland designer Mike Clayton.
“I’ve played Royal Queensland quite a lot, so I’m quite familiar with the place, and looking forward to getting the week underway with ‘Clayts’ on the bag,” said the son of former Australian tennis star Liz Smylie.
“To be able to have a little bit of an inside scoop with the course designer on your bag … around the greens it can get pretty tricky with all the undulation and the slope, so being on the right side of the hole’s quite important around here, but ‘Clayts’ and I will have that down pat, so we’ll be fine.”
Hoping for similar confidence on and around the Royal Queensland greens is tour veteran Sarah Jane Smith, one of 24 players contesting the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship.
Smith, who after a tough year in America was forced to retain her playing card via qualifying school, would love her name to be the first on the Karrie Webb Cup.
“If there’s a trophy that you want your name on, it would be something to do with Karrie Webb,” Smith said.
“She’s been an incredible role model for all Australians playing golf. She’s incredible to me and I’ve been lucky enough to call her my friend.
“She’s just one of the most genuine people to be around.”