After the disappointment of narrowly failing to defend his Yeangder TPC title on Sunday, Travis Smyth goes again this week at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, feeling “like a win is just around the corner”.
The Australian finished second last week, three strokes behind Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, in the first of two back-to-back Asian Tour events in Chinese-Taipei, with this week’s US$1 million event being played at Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
“I mean I’m playing good. I’ve been hitting the ball quite nicely for a while so anything can happen,” said Smyth, who has moved into third place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit (OOM).
However, he does face a very different golf course this week, which will be much more taxing compared with last week’s host venue, Linkou International Golf and Country Club, of which he said: “This golf course loves me, and I love it!”
“This course and this tournament are much harder, or it has been for me, so I’m just hoping I can play solidly, make the weekend, contend hopefully come Sunday,” said the Australian, who missed the cut by one last year.
“But yeah, it’s a bit more of a demanding course, the rough is thicker, the layout is a little bit trickier, the wind swirls more. So, in the past, I think I’ve played this tournament twice and haven’t played that good, so I’m hoping I can just play solid.”
His victory in the Yeangder TPC last year remains his only win on the Asian Tour to date but the 28-year-old from Sydney has been in fine form this year. He finished third in the World City Championship, in Hong Kong – for another of seven top 20s. In addition, he has not missed a cut in 10 starts.
He added: “I think I’ve putted poorly here in the past and my putting has been pretty consistent for a while now. So hopefully I can improve from previous years just on that alone, but also just like kind of understand the course more, and know when to attack certain pins and when not to.
“And how to play from the rough, it’s quite grainy, like it’s pretty hard to control. But yeah I usually play less club when I’m in the rough for the flyers, that sort of thing. In the past I just kind of didn’t really know how to play this golf course, and I think now I’ve played a few times hopefully I can, along with some good putting and good form, I can play well.”
Defending champion Chan Shih-chang from Chinese-Taipei is back this year, as is the man he beat in a sudden-death play-off India’s Rashid Khan.
Other former winners Steve Lewton from England, Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Australian Scott Hend are also here as is Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar – who finished third last week.
Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, currently fourth on the OOM, and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, in ninth place, are also competing.