Cameron Smith did not rely on his Players Championship winners.
The Australian native and transplant from First Coast finished tied for 13th last week at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and is the only player this season to have finished in the top 13 in The Players and the first two major championships, The Masters and PGA.
Smith, who rushed for a bogey on the last hole to beat Anirbarn Lahiri by a shot at the Players Stadium Course, tied for third at the Masters. In the three biggest tournaments of the season so far, he is 20 under par and has a 69.8 stroke average, barely above his overall average of 69.153 – which is second on the PGA Tour.
Smith has seven of 12 rounds in the 60s at the Players, Masters and PGA and his highest score was a 3 of 73 in the third round at Southern Hills.
The Resident of Ponte Vedra Beach climbed to second place in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Scottie Scheffler, and is now third in the world golf rankings, behind Scheffler and Jon Rahm.
While Smith still struggles with his accuracy off the tee (he’s 136th in driving accuracy), he finds the putting surface and then putts. Smith is second in the Tour in shots gained going to the green and seventh in shots thrown.
Here are some numbers that explain how he’s scoring this season: Smith is the first on the Tour near the hole from 100 to 125 yards at 14 feet, 7 inches, and he’s the first to put from 3 feet and in , achieving his 319 attempts. Smith is also 12th on the Tour in most putts made inside 10 feet, at .902.
Smith has missed just two cuts this season and has finished in the top 25 in seven of his 11 starts.
Duke’s Riley tops APGA rankings
Senior Duke quinn riley finished first in the 2021-2022 Advocates Professional Golf Association Collegiate Final Rankings, earning him a bye to the Hospital Rex Open on the Korn Ferry Tour in Cary, North Carolina, and the 2023 APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Invitational season opener in Torrey Pines.
Riley recently won one of five qualifying spots at a local US Open 2022 qualifier and was a medalist at the Stitch Intercollegiate in April at Lonnie Poole GC in Cary. He led Duke with a top-20 finish at the ACC Championship in Panama City Beach two weeks ago.
Getting a spot in the Rex Hospital Open is special for him: he started playing in a local First Tee program in Raleigh and entered the tournament at age 11 for a First Tee Clinic.
“I remember one professional in particular giving me extra attention that he didn’t have to,” Riley said in a statement. “It really struck me. The circle is complete. If I can pay a little more attention to the young golfers who come after me, I can continue this cycle. I attended the Rex Hospital Open last year and remember walking around as a fan. When you see the difference a year can make I was a fan last year watching Mito Pereira play and now look where it is and look at the opportunity I have. Golf is amazing in that regard and I’m so excited to have this chance.
The rest of the top five in the APGA Collegiate Rankings were the heaviest for Tar Heel State: Jeffrey Cunningham from Drexel, Kasoma Paulino of Henderson State, Xavier Williams of North Carolina A&T and travis jackson of central North Carolina. The top five have byes to the remaining nine APGA Tour events, a bye to this year’s Korn Ferry Tour National Qualifier, and will receive assistance with travel costs associated with each full APGA Tour event entered. .
Eligible players are black golfers in NCAA Division I and II programs — including HBCUs — who complete a minimum of four years of college eligibility. The APGA Collegiate Ranking is based on players’ adjusted Golfstat scoring average, designed to assess the best players positioned to qualify for access to the APGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Watson with knee injury
Bouba Watson, who contested the PGA Championship from last week through to the third round, chose a bizarre way to announce he will miss more than a month with a knee injury – buried in a congratulatory tweet to Justin Thomas to win.
“Congratulations @justinthomas34 on #2 @pgachampionship,” Watson said in the tweet, referring to Thomas winning the PGA for the second time. “It was a big event this year, but it just didn’t go the way I hoped. Also, I’m disappointed to have to pull out of [this week’s Schwab Challenge]. Recent knee issues turned out to be a torn meniscus so I will be out for 4-6 weeks. Hope to be back soon!”
Watson shot 63 in the second round at Southern Hills, tying the tournament’s lowest score. He then bugged three of his final four holes in the third round for a 73, and struggled with a 75 in the final round to finish tied for 30th.
If Watson’s window is on the long side of his four to six weeks, he will miss the US Open, as well as an event he was successful at, the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
His schedule would allow him to play the British Open from July 14-17 in St. Andrews.
The Golden Isles courses mentioned
Three golf courses on Georgia’s Golden Isles have been listed among Golfweek’s Top 200 Modern Courses, defined as those that opened after 1960 as new courses or redevelopments.
But at the top of the list of facilities in the area, unsurprisingly, was the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course, which opened in 1980.
The Stadium Course, designed by Dye Pete and home of the Players Championship, is tied for 15th and is the highest rated course in Florida by Golfweek.
the Sea Island Club Seaside Lessonsbuilt in 1929 and redesigned in 2000 by Tom Fazio, is 83rd on the list. Ocean Forest, built in 1995 and designed by Rees Jones, is 84th and the Fredrica Golf Club, designed by Fazio and Mr Michel Bonallack, was built in 2005.
Event: Charles Schwab Challenge, Thursday-Sunday, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth.
Up for grabs: $8.4 million in purse ($1,512,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Jason Kokrak.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 4-7pm; Saturday, 2-5.30pm; Sunday, 1-2pm); CBS (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.-6:30 p.m.).
Registered local players: Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Trey Mullinax, JT Poston, Doc Redman, Sam Ryder, Greyson Sigg.
Notable: Kokrak opened with rounds 65-65 and held off Jordan Spieth to win by two strokes. … Spieth leads a field that includes PGA champion Justin Thomas, his playoff opponent in Southern Hills last week Will Zalatoris, PGA 71-hole leader Mito Peirera, Masters champion and FedEx Cup leader Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Bryson De Chambeau.
Event: Bank of Hope Match Play, Wednesday-Sunday, Shadow Creek, Las Vegas.
At stake: $1.5 million purse ($225,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Ally Ewing.
TV: Golf Channel (Wednesday, 1.30-4.30pm; Thursday-Friday, 7-10pm; Saturday, 5.30-8.30pm; Sunday, 6.30-9.30pm).
Registered zone players: Chella Choi.
Notable: Ewing made a small birdie putt on the 17th hole to beat Sophia Popov 2-1 in last year’s championship game. … Minjee Lee, who leads the CME Globe race after his Founders Cup win, at No. 4 is the highest-ranked player in the field. … Also plays Jennifer Kupcho, who won the LPGA’s first major of the year at the Chevron Championship.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Event: KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Harbor Shores Resort, Benton Harbor, Michigan.
At stake: $3.25 million ($585,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Alex Cejka.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 1-4pm; Saturday, 1-2pm; Sunday, 3-4pm); NBC (Saturday, 2-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4-6 p.m.).
Area players involved: David Duval, Vijay Singh.
Notable: Cejka had a weekend round of 68-67 at Southern Hills to beat Tim Petrovic by four strokes. …Colin Montgomerie, Rocco Mediate and Paul Broadhurst have previously won senior PGAs at Harbor Shores. … Steve Stricker won the first major of the PGA Tour Champions three weeks ago at The Tradition.
KORN FERRY TOUR
Event: NV5 Invitational, Thursday-Sunday, The Glen Club, Glenview, Ill.
At stake: $750,000 prize money ($135,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Cameron Young.
Registered zone players: Chris Baker, Blayne Barber, Chandler Blanchet, AJ Crouch, Luke Guthrie, Phillip Knowles, Colin Monagle, Carl Yuan.
Notable: Young shot 64 in the first round and then beat Adam Svensson by five shots. …Monagle, a graduate of Bishop Kenny and JU, is a Monday qualifier.