Cam Smith ticked off a bucket list item for a Brisbane Broncos fan on Tuesday morning, and now the Queenslander has turned his attention towards a fourth Fortinet Australian PGA Championship title.
Spending the morning in a mowing competition with close mate Marc Leishman at Suncorp Stadium, home of the Broncos, Smith headed for Royal Queensland to refamiliarise himself with the layout where he won his third Kirkwood Cup last year.
Bad weather halted practice rounds on Tuesday afternoon, however, Smith knows the Mike Clayton redesigned course well, and the Australian PGA has been his happiest hunting ground as a professional.
“I’ve been quite fortunate at this event. It’s been nice to me,” the 2017, 2018 and 2022 champion said. “I’ve managed to get a couple of them so far.”
Beyond his familiarity with the course and trophy, Smith’s chances of joining Robert Allenby and Norman Von Nida as a four-time winner, are further enhanced by his recent good form around the world.
Twice a winner on the LIV Golf League in 2023, the 150th Open champion was runner-up a fortnight ago at the Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour, before the world No.18 took a break to go fishing on the Great Barrier Reef ahead of the PGA and next week’s ISPS HANDA Australian Open.
“It’s been good lately. Lots of kind of consistent stuff with the golf game, so looking forward to getting back out at home and hopefully get another Kirkwood Cup,” said Smith, who is in pursuit of Billy Dunk (five) and Kel Nagle (six) as the Australian PGA’s most prolific winner.
Mixing talk on his beloved rugby league and golf Tuesday – including an admission that the Broncos’ Grand Final loss meant his iPad received some tough love – Smith spoke highly of those trying to deny him a fourth win in his home state.
“Another great field this week. Scotty’s back, Leish is back… it’s a great field and hopefully the fans love it,” he said.
Planning to remain in Brisbane and take some time off from golf until the end of January, Smith isn’t on holiday mode just yet, with the chance to join the four-time winners of the PGA Championship followed by his quest to claim the Australian Open for the first time.
On record speaking of his desire to win his national Open, Smith’s fortnight of competitive golf at home also has important connotations for his schedule next year, the Paris Olympic Games squarely in his sights after representing his country in Tokyo.
“Definitely want to be there, 100 per cent,” Smith said of the Olympics.
“I know the criteria, I don’t know if that can change, but I’ve got these couple of events here and probably four more looks again in the majors.
“Hopefully it can keep that ranking up and wear the coat of arms on the chest again, it’s pretty special.”
Open to the idea of playing more in the new year if he needs to chase world ranking points, Smith’s first preference is to play well at home, something that has become par for the course for him at the Australian PGA Championship.
“These couple of events down here can do plenty for me,” he added.