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Cameron Smith taking new top-10 status in stride

Cameron Smith taking new top-10 status in stride

arrived in Honolulu this week with a new status: top 10 player in the world for the first time after his record-setting victory at the Tournament of Champions.

The affable 28-year-old Australian isn’t letting two major accomplishments in one week change his outlook on 2022 or his career goals just yet.

“I’ve never really wanted to expect anything of myself,” Smith, ranked 10th, said Wednesday. “I’ve always been a process kind of guy.

“I feel like if I tick all the boxes I’m going to play some good golf. I definitely want to play well, but I never really expect too much of myself.”

Smith ticked all the right boxes in posting a Tour record 34-under par in last week’s victory, holding off world #1 Jon Rahm down the stretch in the process.

He made the island hop from Maui to Honolulu and was back on the course Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s pro-am, when he was paired with actor Mark Wahlberg. Smith said it was one of his favorite pro-am experiences yet, and it helped that it came at Waialae Country Club, a “tricky little place” Smith said he loves.

He won the Sony Open in a playoff over Brendan Steele in 2020 and is now one of only six players to have won both Hawaii events in a career.

One of Smith’s goals is to build on that success better than he has in the past.

Following his victory at Waialae Country Club two years ago, he missed five of his next seven cuts. Smith and fellow Australian Marc Leishman also teamed up to win the Zurich Classic last April.

Smith finished T59 at the PGA Championship in his next start and then missed his next two cuts.

“I’ve learned a lot from that, just being in contention and not really ticking all the boxes,” he said. “Yeah, there’s something to be conscious of. I’m definitely going to learn from that.”

So, Smith is focused on backing up last week’s win rather than reassessing his goals for this year and beyond.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to obviously process it at the moment,” he said. “Maybe in a week or two, I’ll be able to sit down and really go through some stuff and yeah, definitely set some more goals.”

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