Newsmaker of the Month: Cameron Smith
Two of Cameron Smith’s greatest assets – his putter and his family – came through just when he needed them most.
Smith became the fifth Australian to win the Players Championship at the course he calls home, TPC Sawgrass, and in so doing banked the largest winner’s cheque in PGA Tour history.
He was lost for words not only for how he would spend the $US3.6 million he received for his one-stroke victory but also for what it meant to have his mum, Sharon, and sister, Melanie, in the gallery at a tournament extended to a Monday finish due to rain in Florida.
In a rare show of public emotion, Smith battled to keep his composure as he discussed his family’s presence after more than two years spent apart due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Golf was second for these few weeks, so it’s nice to see them and nice to get a win for them. It’s nice to give Mum a hug,” said Smith, who would go on to share third place at the Masters a month later.
His flatstick also deserved a cuddle for its role in a record-setting week on the Stadium course greens. The 28-year-old had 42 one-putts for the 72 holes – four more than any other player in the history of the Players – and had 13 in his final round of six-under 66, including eight in his final nine holes.
Connor McKinney: The West Australian drained a 25-foot putt for birdie at the first playoff hole to claim the Australian Amateur title from South Australian Jack Buchanan and New Zealander James Hydes. The Kiwis had a win in the women’s Australian Amateur with Fiona Xu eclipsing Queensland’s Justice Bosio by three shots.
Jeffrey Guan and Jeneath Wong: The 17-year-olds successfully defended their Australian Junior Amateur titles in Adelaide. Guan closed with a 67 at The Vines of Reynella to finish three shots clear of Joseph Buttress, while Wong shot eight-under for the 72 holes to edge Sarah Hammett by the same margin.
Karrie Webb: The seven-time Major champion is in line to create further history as the first female captain of the men’s and women’s Olympic golf teams at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Aaron Pike: Defeated New Zealand’s Momoka Kobori at the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to claim the inaugural TPS Hunter Valley at Cypress Lakes Resort.
Harrison Crowe: Became just the sixth amateur in history to win the coveted New South Wales Open and Kel Nagle Cup, producing a final round of 67 in the rain-reduced 54-hole event to edge Blake Windred by a shot.
Kirsten Rudgeley: The star amateur from Perth created a slice of history when she qualified for the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Augusta National, shooting even-par 72 in the final round to finish tied for eighth.
Max Ford and Abbie Teasdale: Ford (Royal Queensland) and Teasdale (Royal Fremantle) won the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, at the Riversdale Cup at Melbourne’s Riversdale Golf Club. Englishman Mike Browne won the All Abilities competition.
The Hills Golf Club: It was announced via Facebook that the former home of The Hills Golf Academy that produced the likes of Jason Day, Maverick Antcliff and Anthony Quayle would be closing its doors on April 10 due to its owners redeveloping the land for a housing estate.
Zach Murray: Playing in the Monday competition at Wodonga Golf Club, Murray shot 14-under 58, good enough for 41 Stableford points and first place playing off a handicap of plus-9.
PGA Learning Hub: The official opening will see the Sandhurst facility became the primary place of education and training for those currently in or wishing to join the Australian golf industry.
That’s the ‘prizemoney’ Ash Barty pocketed in her first sporting endeavour since announcing her shock retirement from tennis. Playing off a handicap of 2.8 and in a field of just five women, Barty won the Saturday comp at Brookwater Golf & Country Club in Brisbane.