Golfing superstar Cameron Smith is relishing the prospect of a return to “one of the best courses in Asia” at the Hong Kong Open, and the Australian is hoping that his debut on the Asian Tour’s International Series at the Hong Kong Golf Club will help to “maintain the mojo” that saw him finish second in the LIV Golf League’s individual standings.
Smith, the 2014 Asian Tour Rookie of the Year, comes into the storied tournament as one of the marquee names in a star-studded field that also includes LIV Golf stablemates Harold Varner III, Talor Gooch, Graeme McDowell, Patrick Reed and Thomas Pieters as well as Asian Tour stars including International Series Order of Merit leader Andy Ogletree and local hero Taichi Kho, the Asian Games gold medal winner.
Smith’s late-season form is sure to be box office for the Fanling galleries. The world No.20 secured two wins in the latter half of the season on the LIV Golf League in London and Bedminster, in a charge that secured runner-up spot on the podium behind Range Goats GC Gooch in the 2023 standings.
The 2022 Open champion is eager to continue that form and believes that the unique style of the Hong Kong GC’s composite course can help to bring on his game. He said: “We don’t get to play too many courses like this, it is more of a strategic course and playing courses like that is something I enjoy.
“I like to be creative and a course like this allows you to be that creative player and person, and I can’t wait to get out there and play the type of golf I really enjoy playing. The golf course is one of the best in Asia and everyone is excited to be here for sure.”
The 30-year-old feels the ninth stop on The International Series schedule is the perfect location to continue working on his game as he makes his way back to Australia for some well-earned rest and relaxation, and a number of tournaments Down Under.
Smith is glad to return to a tournament that he last played nine years ago, as a promising young golfer looking to make his name. On that occasion Smith finished ninth, and he said: “It has been nice to have a couple of weeks off, as it has been a pretty busy year. I’m feeling a little refreshed. The difference in nine years is a lot. I’ve had nine more years of professional golf which is one thing.
“I remember that week was a pressure week for me as I needed to play well to get into the CIMB Classic (co-sanctioned PGA Tour event in Kuala Lumpur).
“I managed to have an OK week, and I learned a lot about myself and my game that week, I had to grind, and that’s something it is good to go through as a young professional.
“It is good to be back in a place that I feel comfortable – it is a golf course I really love and we don’t get to play that style much anymore – it is a style of course I grew up with being Australian, so I can’t wait to get out there.
“It’s one of my favourite places here in Hong Kong – not only the city but the golf club as well. I have some pretty good memories here, it has been a while since I’ve been here so it will be interesting to see if there are any changes but I loved it last time and can’t wait to get out there and compete again against these boys this week.”
The Ripper GC star is delighted to get some game time in on The International Series, the elevated events on the Asian Tour, with the LIV Golf League having finished for the year. He added: “It’s a busy off season, I have added a couple more tournaments in Australia, and I want to improve and make my game better for next year. It was a big reason why I came here, was to fill up a five-to-six-week gap.
“I feel I don’t play well coming off the big gaps and it is nice to come here to get the mojo back or keep the mojo going, I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to getting back home – I haven’t been since April and will be staying until January – that’s something I’m looking forward to.”