Date: May 03, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Smith scholarship inspires Morgan

Exciting prospect Jed Morgan has won the 2018 Cameron Smith Scholarship.

Morgan, 18, has been one of the most successful young golfers in Australia for the past two years and his push to succeed has been given a substantial shove by his fellow Queenslander.

As part of his ongoing commitment to the Golf Australia "Give Back" culture, Smith, 24, gives an annual $12,500 sponsorship to a player he and GA's high performance team jointly select.

And in Morgan, the decision was an easy one to reach.

The effervescent right-hander from Hatton Vale west of Brisbane has gone far and wide to build his golfing resume.

Morgan won the Northern Territory Junior and Amateur titles in 2017, then took his talents back to Asia where he won the Singapore Junior crown.

He had previously enjoyed success in Asia with victory in the individual title while representing Australia at the Asia Pacific Junior Championship in 2016 which translated to a professional start on the Japan Golf Tour, as well.

Morgan, who ranks Queensland duo Smith and Jason Day among his idols, then returned home to win the 2017 Queensland Junior Amateur title. He has been a regular in Queensland teams for the past two years and has won a swag of state-based events to boot.

"I'm really excited to win the scholarship — everyone looks up to Cam and is full of admiration for what he's doing," QAS squad member Morgan said of Smith, himself a graduate of the state's high performance program.

"It's fantastic that his hard work is being rewarded in the United States and it's awesome that he keeps an eye on us at home and wants us to follow in his and Jason's footsteps.”

And that interaction is first-hand, too.

“Cam often pops out to QAS training when he’s home and I played 3-4 holes with him a while back and the impact it has on me is huge … he’s such a likeable and normal guy and it shows you we can all get there.”

Morgan, alongside Smith, also expressed his gratitude to the high performance managers at the QAS and Golf Australia for the opportunity.

“Everything they do is to try to help us along and I’m very grateful. It’s going to advance my game a lot and it’s an opportunity I won’t waste.

"It's a real honour and the funding will definitely help me with travel and coaching for what I have planned this year.”

Next on Morgan’s agenda is the Interstate Series in Adelaide, then it’s off to the United Kingdom for the first time with starts in the St Andrews Links, The Amateur and European Amateur before heading to the United States for a tilt at the US Junior Championship and other events around the national camp in Houston.

Morgan follows in the footsteps of another Queenslander, Louis Dobbelaar, who won the scholarship in each of its first two years.

Smith, who has enjoyed a breakout 12 months on the US PGA Tour, including a fifth place at the recent Masters and his first US PGA Tour victory, was excited to give the award to another fellow Queenslander.

“Congratulations, Jed, on receiving the scholarship," he said.

“You have had a fantastic couple of years; it’s great to see you out there winning well regularly.

“I look forward to following your progress this year and into the future – keep up the hard work.”

Golf Australia high performance director Brad James was excited for Morgan, who played much of his junior golf at Hailes and is now coached by Royal Queensland professional Chris Gibson.

But James was equally excited that the culture of "Give Back" continued to gather momentum.

"It's fantastic for Jed to get this support and we fully commend the effort he continues to pour into his game as he matures," James said.

"And we are thrilled that Cam continues to dedicate his time, attention and money to the next wave of athletes coming through behind him.

"It shows who he is and is also a great tribute to what we're trying to achieve with `Give Back' as it progresses.

"The more help we can get from those who've gone before the current generation, the more likely we are to build a stronger future for Australian golf."