Aussies on Tour: Smith finds positive in predicted PGA slog - PGA of Australia

Aussies on Tour: Smith finds positive in predicted PGA slog

He expects the week to be long and rounds to be disrupted yet Australian Cameron Smith has found a positive in the heavy conditions predicted for this week’s US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

Being played less than 30 minutes from the home of the Kentucky Derby, heavy rain early in the week, predicted thunderstorms late in Round 2 and further rain for Round 3 on has the course shaping to play as a ‘Soft 7’ rather than a ‘Good 3’.

Fresh from back-to-back LIV Golf team wins with Ripper GC in Adelaide and Singapore, Smith knows that an adjustment will have to be made.

For a player with documented struggles with the driver the past 12 months, the 30-year-old understands that soft conditions could help to avoid the thick rough that abuts Valhalla’s fairways and greens.

“The rough doesn’t seem that long but it’s just really dense. It’s quite patchy so it’s hard to say whether it’s a good or a bad thing,” Smith told the PGA of America, his best finish in the PGA Championship coming 12 months ago where was tied for ninth.

“Obviously coming off the fairways will be far easier but I think the course is going to soften up a lot and probably be easier to hit those fairways and hit those greens.

“It’s probably going to be a long week if you look at the forecast this week. I think there’s going to be a few early mornings so probably keeping it a little bit lighter at the start of the week, conserving some energy will be good.”

Smith completed just nine holes of his practice round on Tuesday before play was suspended.

Having not played when Rory McIlroy won at Valhalla in 2014, he knows any time not spent playing will be dedicated to studying.

“I’ve only managed to play the first nine so far – we’ve got a little weather here today – so I’ll see as much of the course as I can today,” Smith added.

“The course is great, it’s in great shape and it’s tough.

“I haven’t been around here yet so there’ll be a ton of study to go over the next couple of days and a ton of rest.

“Everything feels good. Game feels great. I feel like it’s just been improving this whole year basically.

“I’m pumped and ready for this week.”

Smith is off in Round 1 at 10.26pm on Thursday night AEST with Lucas Herbert the first off the Aussies in action from 9:31pm.

Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner Kazuma Kobori makes his major championship debut from 2:40am Friday morning followed by Cam Davis (3:07am), 2015 champion Jason Day (3:18am) and Min Woo Lee (3:29am).

There are eight Aussies competing in the Mizuho Americas Open on the LPGA Tour while Gold Coast amateur Grace Williams will make her Epson Tour debut in Utah.

A recent graduate of Utah Tech University, Williams was granted a tournament invite to pit her game against those on the verge of playing the LPGA Tour.

“Being able to compete this week is unbelievably exciting,” said Williams, who joins fellow Aussies Cassie Porter and Su Oh in the Copper Rock Championship field.

“Having the opportunity compete and test my game against the pros is something I have been looking forward to all year.

“I believe that college golf in Utah has allowed my course management skill to evolve, as well just being able to play numerous different shots, especially when the weather changes so quickly out here in the desert!

“You really just need to be prepared for everything.”

Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images

Round 1 tee times AEST

US PGA Championship
Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky
Round 1
9:31pm*          Lucas Herbert
9:37pm            Ryan Fox (NZ)
10:04pm*         Adam Scott
10:26pm*         Cameron Smith
2:40am*           Kazuma Kobori (NZ)
3:07am             Cam Davis
3:18am             Jason Day
3:29am             Min Woo Lee

Round 2
9:15pm            Kazuma Kobori (NZ)
9:42pm*          Cam Davis
9:53pm*          Jason Day
10:04pm*         Min Woo Lee
2:56am            Lucas Herbert
3:02am*           Ryan Fox (NZ)
3:29am            Adam Scott
3:51am            Cameron Smith

Defending champion: Brooks Koepka
Past Aussie winners: Jim Ferrier (1947), David Graham (1979), Wayne Grady (1990), Steve Elkington (1995), Jason Day (2015)
Prize money: $17.5 million
TV times: Live 9pm-10am Thursday, Friday; Live 3am-9am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

Mizuho Americas Open
Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, New Jersey
9pm                 Karis Davidson
9:33pm*          Sarah Kemp
9:55pm*          Lydia Ko (NZ)
10:06pm          Gabriela Ruffels
10:17pm          Hannah Green
2:05am*           Stephanie Kyriacou
3am*               Grace Kim
3:11am            Minjee Lee
3:44pm            Robyn Choi

Defending champion: Rose Zhang
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Prize money: $3 million
TV times: Live 5am-8am Friday on Fox Sports 506; Live 5am-8am Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 507 and Kayo.

Japan Golf Tour
Kansai Open Golf Championship
Meishin Yokaichi Country Club, Shiga
8:20am            Anthony Quayle
1:30pm            Brad Kennedy
1:40pm*          Michael Hendry (NZ)

Defending champion: Yasuka Hanamigawa
Past Aussie winners: Brad Kennedy (2013)
Prize money: ¥80,000,000

Korn Ferry Tour
AdventHealth Championship
Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, Missouri
9:56pm*          Dimi Papadatos
10:07pm*         Rhein Gibson
10:18pm*         Steven Bowditch
10:29pm          Brett Drewitt
5:22am            Charlie Hillier (NZ)

Defending champion: Grayson Murray
Past Aussie winners:
Prize money: $1 million

Ladies European Tour
Amundi German Masters
Golf and Country Club Seddiner See, Berlin, Germany
5:54pm*          Momoka Kobori (NZ)
10:12pm*         Amy Walsh
10:45pm*         Kirsten Rudgeley

Defending champion: Kristyna Napoleaova
Past Aussie winners: Karrie Webb (2013)
Prize money: €300,000
TV times: Live 7pm-10pm Thursday, Friday; Live 8:45pm-11pm Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 8pm-11pm Sunday on Fox Sports 507 and Kayo.

PGA TOUR Americas
Inter Rapidisimo Golf Championship
Club El Rincón de Cajicá, Bogotá, Colombia
9:50pm            Harry Hillier (NZ)
3:20am            Jason Hong

Defending champion: Inaugural event
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Prize money: $225,000

Epson Tour
Copper Rock Championship
Copper Rock Golf Course, Hurricane, Utah
11:30pm*         Amelia Garvey (NZ)
4:31am*           Grace Williams (a)
5:04am            Fiona Xu (NZ)
5:15am*           Cassie Porter
5:59am*           Su Oh

Defending champion: Savannah Vilaubi
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Prize money: $250,000

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