Home » Masters 2024: Cam Smith earns another top-10 at Augusta National – Australian Golf Digest

Masters 2024: Cam Smith earns another top-10 at Augusta National – Australian Golf Digest

Cameron Smith has acknowledged that “time is ticking” and has vowed to return to Augusta National and finish the job, after a stunning eagle gave his Masters bid early hopes of reeling in runaway winner Scottie Scheffler.

Smith’s quest to become just the seventh player to win the Open Championship at St Andrews (2022) and the Masters got off to off to a flyer when he holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the second hole.

“That was the start I needed,” Smith told Australian reporters after his round.

His green jacket hopes ended there.

Smith didn’t make a birdie all day. Other than the eagle and a bogey at the fifth hole, a series of pars held him back from hitting the next gear during a lacklustre 71. Smith finished at two-under-par (286) and tied for sixth, nine shots behind Scheffler. Smith settled for his fifth top-10 result at the Masters in his eight career starts.

Some of golf’s greatest champions weren’t able to win the Masters. Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino and Tom Kite among them. Smith doesn’t want to be known as an also-ran given his flare for Augusta National. Smith’s top-10s at Augusta include a T-5 in 2018, a joint runner-up in 2020, a T-10 in 2021 and a share of third to Scheffler in 2022.

“I mean, I’m 30 years old now,” he said. “I know that sounds crazy, but there’s going to be a point in my career where things start to go the other way. I’d like to think I’m still on the up and can still compete with the best golfers in the world but… time ticks on and there’s only one of these a year – so you’ve got to make the most of it.”

After the bounces and breaks he was getting, Smith felt it was simply not his week. He pointed to the short par-4 third after his eagle.

“I hit two good shots in [drive and second shot] at No.2 and then two good shots into the [short par-4 third] and [the wedge shot at No.3] goes over the back, and it was another birdie hole,” he said. “I feel like I hit a lot of good shots [this week] to just outside birdie range over the weekend. If the ball went three or four or five foot closer, it would probably be a different story, but it didn’t. I feel like I hit a lot of good shots to just outside that birdie range over the weekend.”

World No.1 Scheffler held off young debutant Ludvig Aberg to win a second green jacket in three years, becoming a multiple major champion with a final-round 68. Scheffler finished at 11-under-par (277), while Sweden’s Aberg (69) was second at seven-under (281) playing in his first major championship. Tommy Fleetwood, Max Homa and Collin Morikawa tied third at four-under (284).

Smith shared sixth with fellow major winner and LIV golfer, Bryson DeChambeau. He was satisfied with getting into contention after having to withdraw from LIV Golf Miami two weeks ago with food poisoning that left him feeling sick into the Masters practice rounds.

“I think the adrenalin definitely kept me going out on the golf course, but the start of the week was definitely a struggle and I didn’t prepare the way I wanted to,” he said.

Smith was one of four LIV golfers who finished in the top 15. He and DeChambeau joined Tyrrell Hatton (T-9, even-par) and 2018 winner Patrick Reed (T-12, one-over).

Smith dismissed the idea – raised by US Open champion Wyndham Clark on Friday – that LIV golfers can’t compete at the majors given their tour stages 54-hole events.

“No, that’s BS,” he said.

Cameron Davis, who was in contention through the first three rounds, was the next best Australian at one-over (289) after a disappointing 75. Min Woo Lee signed off on his Masters campaign with a solid 69, improving his total to four-over, which was matched by Australia’s only Masters champion, Adam Scott (72).

Jason Day rallied with a 69 to finish at five-over (293).

“I was making a continuation of swing changes, on top of playing in a major championship, and trying woods and the 40-mile-an-hour breeze at the start of the week, it can be very difficult to try and make those changes,” Day said. “But you have to be put it in different situations, different environments. That’s how you’re going to give yourself a lot more trust in the swing. Today was a good positive step in the right direction for that.”