Cameron Smith excited for Asian Tour return

After enjoying successful exploits in the United States, young talent Cameron Smith will make a return to Asia for the US$650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which starts this Thursday.

The 22-year-old Australian will headline an international cast of players from 22 countries, who include Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, local hotshots Chan Shih-chang and Pan Cheng-tsung, Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant and Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines, at the challenging Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course.

Cameron Smith Cameron Smith (Credit: Asian Tour)

Smith was crowned the Rookie of the Year last season after finishing fifth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit thanks to seven top-10s.

He made a name for himself with an impressive tied-fourth finish in his US Open debut earlier in June and earned a spot in the PGA Championship two months later where he came in tied-25th.

“I had a great experience at the US Open. It was a dream finish for me. Playing on the Asian Tour last year has helped a lot as I was able to get into the moment and just do my own thing out there.”

“The course is looking good. I thought it held up pretty good after being swept by Typhoon Dujuan on Monday. I was just trying to play my best out there last year. I hope to do the same this time round,” said the young Australian, who enjoyed a tied-sixth finish in the event last year.

Fresh from a well-deserved rest back home in Queensland, Smith will continue his chase for a maiden Asian Tour win and boost his chances of qualifying for next month’s CIMB Classic by remaining inside top-10 on the Merit rankings.

“I did nothing at all during the break. I was just lying at home and going to the gym as usual. That’s about it.”

“It’s nice to be back, especially after a great season last year. It’s good to see the guys out here again and catch up with them. Hopefully a good result this week will boost my chances of qualifying for the CIMB Classic,” added Smith.

Like Smith, Mardan is also hoping for a good showing at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters to help him break into top-10 on the Merit rankings to qualify for the prestigious CIMB Classic.

Other notable players include China’s Liang Wen-chong, Prom Meesawat of Thailand, Filipino Angelo Que, Indian duo Arjun Atwal and Rahil Gangjee, as well as local prospects Lu Wei-chih, Lu Wen-teh, Lin Wen-tang and Hsieh Chi-hsien.

Players will be vying for good showings at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters to boost their chances of qualifying for the prestigious CIMB Classic and WGC-HSBC Champions.

As of October 26, the leading four golfers from the Order of Merit will earn starting places in the US$8.5 million HSBC Champions in November while the leading 10 players will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic at the end of October.