Date: February 11, 2009
Author: Angus Morgan at Metropolitan GC, Sportal

Smith eyes major prize

Twelve months ago Kristie Smith was rapt to finish the leading amateur in the 2008 Women&aposs Australian Open at Kingston Heath in Melbourne&aposs sandbelt. A year on, Smith who has since turned professional, has her sights set on the main prize at the 2009 Open being contested at one of &aposThe Heath&aposs&apos venerated sandbelt neighbours, Metropolitan Golf Club, from Thursday. “I definitely can win this week,” Smith said with a shrug on Wednesday. “I know I can – I&aposve just got to post a score on the board.” Posting a score is something the 20-year-old genuinely believes she can achieve coming off her record-breaking 62 last Friday in the Australian Ladies Masters at Royal Pines. Smith regards the round, which started with seven straight birdies and which included 12 birdies in all, as something of a breakthrough and far more instructive than the 75 she posted on the Saturday. “Knowing I can now go and shoot low it&aposs definitely boosted the confidence,” she said. “I&aposve been telling a lot of people that I haven t been able to go low and I just want to really go low, I&aposve never done it before.” “It was nice to be able to prove to myself and to others that I can go low and what I am capable of.” “I definitely know I can go out there and compete with the professionals.” While her game hasn&apost changed a great deal since her last Open appearance, Smith, the daughter of former Australian touring professional Wayne Smith, is bringing an added mental toughness to this year&aposs event. Also in her favour is experience on Melbourne&aposs sandbelt where the locals, she believes, will have a big advantage. “All the Aussie girls will know how to play this course because this is where we&aposve grown up playing amateur golf,” said Smith. “You&aposve got to play smart on this golf course.” “The person that&aposs going to be standing on the podium at the end of the week would have played some seriously smart golf and obviously you&aposve got to hole the putts too.” Asked for her impressions of &aposMetro&apos following Wednesday&aposs pro-am, Smith said, “It&aposs pretty awesome”. “It&aposs long but it&aposs got some par-fives that I can reach in two, which is nice especially down-breeze so you&aposve got to take your opportunity on those holes” “There are lots of bunkers, lots of chip-and-runs and very hard greens – you&aposve got to adjust, that&aposs for sure.” Smith will be partnered by Henrietta Zuel of England and Jade Schaeffer of France in the group scheduled to tee off from the first at 1.00pm AEDT on Thursday.