Travis Smyth believes 2017 could be the best year to date in his young golf career.
The 22-year-old is set to kick-start his year beginning with Australian Amateur Championship next week at Yarra Yarra Golf Club and Peninsula Kingswood Country Club in Melbourne.
Smyth has fond memories of his runner-up finish in last year’s Amateur to Scotland's Connor Syme at Metropolitan Golf Club. It proved to be the catalyst for a stellar year for the St. Michael’s Golf Club member.
“The runner-up finish (to Connor) gave me the belief that I could compete against the world’s best,
“I’d certainly like to go one better this year and be able to give Conner a call and say, ’thanks for not coming this year,’ something funny like that,” Smyth laughed.
Smyth is realistic however about the quality of player that is lingin up for this year's championship, and he is well aware that a certain amount of good fortune is needed to go all the way.
“It’s a tough gig, though; I feel you’ve got to be kind of lucky in a way going through the match play. You don’t know who you will be paired against, what they’re going to shoot. They’re tough, quick 18-hole matches,
“Regardless of who it is, I’d be fine to lose to someone who shoots five-under if I’ve shot four-under. I just want to play well, and whatever I finish at the end of the week, well, it is what it is, matchplay is a bit like that,”
2016 proved to be a breakout year for the tall, blonde golfer, who proved to himself that he had what it takes to compete with the best amateurs in the game.
“It was solid year; I got out of it what I deserved with all the hard work I put in,
There was plenty of rewards too. A second place finish at the WA Open to US Amateur Champion Curtis Luck was followed by a string of impressive results throughout the Northern Hemisphere. A special honour was his selection as captain of the NSW Men’s interstate team that went on to win the Australian interstate series.
“The interstate series was great fun, the playing group voted for me to be Captain, then to take out the series was a mad feeling, it’s a memory I’m going to have for a long time,” he smiled.?
Smyth finished off his year in fine form with an impressive 28th place finish in his first ever Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club.
“It felt good to qualify for the Aussie open after being so sick (from food poisoning in Japan) and missing a Japanese tour event at a critical time. I was relieved that I finished the year well.”
Smyth’s goal for 2017 is to break into the world’s top-10 before he has a tilt at the professional ranks.
“I’m working on trying to peak for the right tournaments, and hopefully do what Curtis did last year,
“I’ve got to keep working hard, and the results will come. Playing well overseas too will help line up a lot of things,
“I’m going not put too much pressure on myself, just do what I do and later in the year hopefully it will pay off,
“This game can be a bit of a roller coaster,” he laughed.