Date: August 18, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Field trip pays for hot Smith

There's nothing like a bit of home being brought to your doorstep on the US PGA Tour.

So it was with great delight that Brisbane's Cam Smith welcomed long-time coach and Queensland Academy of Sport pro Grant Field to North Carolina on Monday.

And the visit paid immediate dividends today for Smith, who carded a seven-under-par 63, the lowest round of his PGA Tour career to share third at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Smith, who won in New Orleans earlier this year, had been in a bit of a trough since The Open, missing three cuts in a row and shooting uncharacteristically high numbers.

But the young Aussie continued his push for a Presidents Cup captain's pick with seven birdies and no bogeys to trail only Matt Every (-9) and Henrik Stenson (-8) after the first round of the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Field's arrival immediately felt right to Smith, who's 45th on the FedEx Cup standings.

“My coach flew in on Monday and go back to basics really with the whole game and yeah, it felt good today,” he said.

“We hadn’t seen each other for some time and my set-up was getting a little askew and out of timing, so it has been nothing major and if anything, just fine-tuning.

“So, today was more like the way I know I can play while the heat didn’t bother me given I’m from Brisbane and it gets really hot there.”

It was Smith’s lowest score in his 60 Tour events, one shot better than a 64 he posted earlier this year on day one of the Sony Hawaii Open.

“I love playing here in Greensboro as it’s a real old-school type of golf course with big loopy greens and if you get the putter going you can post a score like I did today”, he said.

“The putter was good today, so I definitely have felt a lot better today than it’s been of late.”

A handful of other Aussies also fared well, with Steve Bowditch, the resurgent Stuart Appleby and Brett Drewitt all posting two-under-par 68s.

Aaron Baddeley carded a 69, while Geoff Ogilvy heaped the pressure on himself with an even-par 70 as he fights to maintain his No.125 ranking in the FedEx Cup rankings and a full card for next year. The veteran Victorian must make the cut tomorrow to have any chance and is currently sitting T102.

Greg Chalmers (71), Matt Jones (72), Cam Percy (75) and Ryan Ruffels (77) all have work to do tomorrow.