Back-to-back champion Smith shifts focus to Australian PGA


The easy-going star said that relaxed approach suited the atmosphere at Royal Pines and had contributed to his success there.

“It’s very cruisy, probably my favourite week of the year,” he said.

“I don’t particularly think the course suits me, I just think I have a good time and the rest takes care of itself.

“But there’s 150 other guys in the field that all want the same as what I want – to get the trophy – I’m going to have to play my arse off.”

The two-time defending champion “did some washing and other adult things” on Monday, having flown back from a bittersweet Melbourne campaign.

“I felt like we were so close,” he said of the International team’s narrow loss.

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“I was really gutted for some of the older guys and (captain) Ernie Els; they poured their heart and soul into it.

“We came so close, we can all be proud of how we played, but still pretty gutted.”

Smith prevailed in a PGA duel with Marc Leishman in 2018 but will have fellow Queenslander Adam Scott for company this year.

Open champion of 2009 Stewart Cink and Australian order of merit leader Ryan Fox will also present challenges.

Smith said pinpoint wedge play over four days at Royal Pines would help him clinch a historic third title.

“The fairways are quite generous around here, heaps of wedges, heaps of scoring opportunities and you have to take them when you can,” he said.

AAP

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