Cameron Smith is having the time of his life at Augusta National, and the young Queenslander could yet make a run at the Masters on the weekend.
Smith, who only secured his place in the field a week out from the even when he jumped into the top 50 on the world rankings and then won a couple of matches at the World Golf Championship matchplay, goes into round three one-under par after an even-par 72 today.
After an up-and-down front nine that included three birdies and three bogeys, Smith made pars right through the back nine, including a great save from the trees at the par-four 17th.
“I do feel as though I left a few shots out there, but you can’t be a beggar around here,’’ he said later. “You’ve got to take what you get given. It’s so tough, it throws everything at you. The course has changed so much in the last two days, too. I think everyone’s trying to wrap their heads around that.’’
Smith is making his second appearance in the Masters, having finished 55th in 2016, and he said it was faith in his strengths that allowed him to compete. “Probably just belief in my short game knowing that where I am unless it’s completely dead, I can give it a good run at par. That’s really helped me out the first two days.’’
The gritty Australian pro, who hails from Wantima Golf Club in Brisbane, is inside the top 20 on the leaderboard through two rounds.
Adam Scott and Jason Day both made the cut but have a lot of work to do on the weekend. Scott is four-over par, 13 shots from the lead, after a 73 today that included four birdies but also a water ball at the par-three 12th and a few mistakes.
Scott said afterward that more difficult wind tomorrow might even help his chances. “Somehow if I can squeak back to even par I might be able to tee off with some hope on Sunday,’’ he said. “My putting from 10 feet has let me down. Not in close but those 10-footers that you should hole a few, I haven’t holed any.’’
Day is at two-over after a 71 today. The Queenslander hit his second shot at the par-five 15th into the water stalling his momentum, but rebounded with an ice birdie at the 17th and a great par-save after an errant drive at the 18th.