Golfer Smith adjusting to life at the top

Australian PGA Championship winner Cameron Smith thinks he's doing a good job of handling extra pressure which comes with success on the highest stage in golf.

03-Dec-2018 By Murray Wenzel, Australian Associated Press
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Cameron Smith says he's slowly adjusting to life in the spotlight after defending his Australian PGA Championship, despite the pressure that had come with being the tournament's poster boy.

The 25-year-old has built a reputation as a laidback character on course after his breakthrough individual title last year at Royal Pines.

But, after claiming a second Kirkwood Cup on Sunday on the Gold Coast by two shots from good mate Marc Leishman, he said the past few weeks had tested him.

Smith was the top local hope at the Australian Open in Sydney before partnering Leishman at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.

Smith, with Leishman and Andrew 'Beef' Johnston, had been plastered on billboards around the Gold Coast. He will no doubt encounter more of the same if he returns next year for the Australian swing.

"It definitely has been a little bit different this year, a bit more attention on myself, media commitments and other commitments," he said.

"I think I've done a pretty good job of it; I haven't let it stress me out although it has been, not really annoying, but something that I'm not used to."

Australian veteran and major winner Geoff Ogilvy said pre-tournament that Smith could rise as high as 10 in the world in the next 12 months.

It's clear while he might still be the 'other' Cameron Smith in rugby league-mad Queensland, his United States contemporaries will know him well as he pushes towards a top-20 goal.

"Yeah, they'll definitely take notice of him," Leishman said.

"Always developing - he's turned into a great player."

Smith is likely to move inside the top 30 for the first time thanks to his latest title and, after winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans teams event in 2017, wants individual success next year in the US.

"It's probably one of my goals that I didn't tick off this year, missing out on that win over there," he said.

"I still played great over there, put myself in position to win and didn't quite pull it off a couple of times.

"That's just going to happen with competing against the best guys in the world."

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