[Photo: Getty images]

It was one small step for Cam, but one giant leap for an Australian contingent struck with injury and illness.

Two of Australia’s Masters hopes are nursing various ailments as the 88th Masters draws closer. On Tuesday afternoon, Smith, who has been battling sickness, leapt over Rae’ Creek at the par-5 13th after practising a pitch shot. Perhaps it signalled that Smith’s body is beginning to heal after food poisoning triggered a separate illness that has left him largely bedridden since withdrawing from LIV Golf Miami on Saturday.

Smith played in an all-Australian practice round featuring Lee, Adam Scott and Jason Day. The quartet played a nine-hole practice round on the back nine at Augusta National. Day and Scott were the only two not under the weather.

Smith says his “body shut down” after food poisoning while Min Woo Lee suffered a broken finger last week before the flu got him early on the weekend.

Smith came down with food poisoning last Wednesday at Doral in Miami. He arrived at Augusta National walking gingerly but struck the ball beautifully in the practice session with his fellow Australians. After his leap over the creek at No.13, Smith bombed a drive at the par-5 15th and struck a perfect 3-wood to the middle of the green and two-putted for birdie.

Afterwards, Smith spoke with reporters.

“[I had] a bit of food poisoning at the start of last week and probably just tried to do a little bit too much and body just kind of shut down on me,” the 2022 Open champion said. “I spent the weekend in the bed, which wasn’t the greatest [Masters] preparation, but I was just saying that today is probably the first day where I feel like I’ve got a little bit of energy. I’m sure I’ll be pretty cooked tonight. At least I could get around and feel OK.”

Smith, Scott, Day and Lee on the famous Hogan bridge before the par-3 12th green. Picture: Adam Scott /Instagram

The caddies turned photographers as the Aussies posed for photos. Picture: Warren Smith

But Smith said despite the illness, his game was feeling good after a tie for second at LIV Golf Hong Kong last month. “Game feels good. At the start of the year, I was trying to address some stuff in the swing and felt a little bit uncomfortable and [found it] hard to commit on some really tough driving courses, to be honest. It was good to play nice in Hong Kong and kind of know that it’s still there. It was feeling nice last week [before the sickness].”

World No.32 Lee, meanwhile, one of Australia’s most in-form players, dropped a dumbbell on his hand in the gym last week.

“I hurt my hand; broke it,” he said. “I was in the gym Saturday last week. I was just doing like a side bridge glute [exercise] and it was literally my last rep, last set, and I like threw the dumbbell down and somehow clipped my right ring finger.

“I went to the doctor and I thought it was OK because I could move it. It was just red. I thought it would be fine. Then they came in and said, ‘You’ve broken it.’ [There’s ] a lot of anxiety. This is the first time telling the public. We didn’t know as a team to tell or to not, and I felt like I should tell people because there was a lot of the pressure on me, I guess, playing well.

“I have it bandaged up right now. I hit my first shot for the last week on Friday, hit my first full driver. Honestly, it’s actually amazing how fast the recovery was. It was bruised, still swollen, but not actually that painful, which is really strange. Somehow I’m recovering very good, so icing and elevating as much as I can. I guess it wasn’t the best prep, and I got the flu two days ago. It’s going great.”

Lee said he was feeling much better after more than a week of recovery.

“No, that’s the funny thing,” he said. “A few days afterwards, and it was pretty average when I was hitting chip shots. But today I played a full nine holes and hit some decent shots so I’m surprised and I think it was very lucky. I still went to the gym last week as much as I could. Obviously didn’t do that exercise. Every time I looked at that 20-pound dumb bell, yeah, gave it a death stare.”

Lee, who shot 30 on the front nine during his 2022 Masters debut, where he finished T14, arrived at Augusta National with the confidence of his join runner-up at the PGA Tour event at Palm Beach Gardens last month. It’s the best result on the PGA Tour by an Australian this year.

Scott, meanwhile, arrived in Augusta Monday morning after a T14 at the Valero Texas Open. He went to work on the range immediately after the practice round, as did Day.