His best ball-striking display in four years has Queenslander Cameron Smith excited about the build-up to The Masters after recording a top-five finish at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
Runner-up at Augusta National in November, Smith was making his first appearance since the Farmers Insurance Open three weeks ago and two weeks spent working on his swing technique paid dividends as he used a final round of 4-under 67 to move into outright fourth position and prizemoney in excess of $US450,000.
“Just took a couple weeks off and knuckled down. Actually did some work on my swing and it paid off this week,” said Smith.
“I thought I struck it probably the best I’ve struck it in a very long time, three, four years probably. It’s nice to get back in that groove.”
Ahead of this week’s World Golf Championships event in Florida moving into The PLAYERS and then The Masters, Smith believes that if he can stay on top of his swing tendencies he can take confidence into every event.
“I get this little move at the top of my swing that gets me all unbalanced,” Smith explained.
“Just spent a couple weeks on that so I’ve just got to keep my eye on it and do some really good preparation around the golf course.”
Defending champion Adam Scott bounced back from a disappointing 76 in Round 3 with a Sunday 66 to move inside the top 40 while Matt Jones rounded out a strong week with a 1-under 70 to join Smith inside the top 10.
There were no Aussies inside the top 10 at the resumption of the Korn Ferry Tour with Victorian Brett Coletta the best in a tie for 11th.
An opening round of 63 had Coletta tied at the top of the leaderboard but it was a pace he was unable to maintain, weekend rounds of 73-70 resulting in a finish just outside the top 10.
Kiwi Steven Alker was also tied for 11th with Aussie pair Brett Drewitt and Mark Hensby in a tie for 47th alongside New Zealand’s Nick Voke.
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California
Won by Max Homa (USA) in a two-hole playoff
4 Cameron Smith, 69-68-71-67—275
T8 Matt Jones, 67-72-69-70—278
T32 Marc Leishman, 69-73-73-68—283
T38 Adam Scott, 69-73-76-66—284
T43 Cameron Davis, 71-69-77-68—285
T52 Danny Lee, 72-70-72-72—286
KORN FERRY TOUR
LECOM Suncoast Classic
Lakewood National GC (Commander CSe), Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Won by Billy Kennerly (USA) by two strokes
T11 Brett Coletta, 63-69-73-70—275
T11 Steven Alker, 69-68-67-71—275
T47 Mark Hensby, 65-72-74-71—282
T47 Brett Drewitt, 67-72-72-71—282
T47 Nick Voke, 69-69-72-72—282