Smith looks to regain his 'mojo' in Hong Kong

Last staged in 2020, the Hong Kong Open has returned to the Asian Tour schedule after a long hiatus due to Covid-19

By Reuters

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Australian golfer Cameron Smith. — AFP
Australian golfer Cameron Smith. — AFP

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 8:35 PM

Cameron Smith was pipped to an $18 million cheque by Talor Gooch in Saudi Arabia last month but hopes to turn the tables on the American for a much smaller prize at the $2 million Hong Kong Open this week.

British Open winner Smith was in pole position to claim LIV Golf's individual title but Gooch's runner-up finish behind compatriot Brooks Koepka at the decisive event in Jeddah was enough to secure the huge payday.

Smith's $10 million cheque for finishing second in the series' individual points list would have been some consolation as he went into a brief break from golf.

But the mullet-haired Queenslander is keen to get back into it and get one over Gooch at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

"It’s been nice to have a couple of weeks off. It's been a long season, this guy (Gooch) beat me this year and I’ve got some motivation to beat him this week," Smith said.

Last staged in 2020, the Hong Kong Open has returned to the Asian Tour schedule after a long hiatus due to Covid-19.

A slew of golfing greats have their names engraved on the winners' trophy, including Rory McIlroy (2011), Tom Watson (1992) and Greg Norman (1979, 1983).

Plenty of Australians have hoisted it over the years, with twice winner Wade Ormsby the last in 2020 and five-times British Open winner Peter Thomson claiming three titles in the 1960s.

Smith hopes to be the latest before he heads home.

"I have added a couple more tournaments in Australia, and I want to improve and make my game better for next year," he said.

"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."

Located close to the border with China in Fanling, Hong Kong Golf Club is home to the oldest championship course in Asia among three 18-hole lay-outs.

The Hong Kong Open's composite course is something of a throwback in the modern era of monster hitters, placing a premium on strategy, which suits Smith and his elite short game fine.

"As I’m sure you know, golf has kind of turned into a big bash, and it’s nice to play on these courses where you have to be professional and be smart," he said.

"It is a style of course I grew up with being Australian, so I can’t wait to get out there."


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