Date: March 13, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

Smith in Augusta sweet spot

Cameron Smith was quiet at the Valspar Championship at the weekend, but the Queenslander had some good news to celebrate at the end: he has jumped into the world’s top 50 players for the first time.

By a quirk of the two-year rolling official world golf rankings, Smith jumped from No. 52 to No. 50 when the list came out on Tuesday, despite being outside the top 40 in Florida.

The significance will not be lost on the Queenslander. The top 50 in the rankings in the week before the Masters at Augusta National next month are automatically invited to play in the first major of the year.

All of which means he only needs to hold his position for another couple of weeks to get a ticket to Magnolia Lane.

Smith, 24, has played the Masters before – he secured an invitation in 2016 on the back of his top-five finish in the previous year’s US Open – where he made the cut and ultimately finished tied-55th.

If he does make the field, he will be the fourth Australian to go to the fabled Augusta this year, a relatively low figure.

Adam Scott is in thanks to his victory in 2013, while Jason Day and Marc Leishman are there due to their world rankings.

Dustin Johnson remained at No. 1 on the rankings this week but the big mover was none other than Tiger Woods, who is inside the top 150 – 500 places higher than he started the year – after his strong performance at the Valspar in Florida.

Australians Day (10th) and Leishman (16th) are both in the top 20.