Cameron Smith on the brink of U.S. Open glory
The focus of most attention during Saturday’s third round at the U.S. Open centred on Jason Day’s courageous battle with his health issues, but there is a fellow Queenslander lurking just behind Day and co-leaders Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, threatening to pinch everyone’s lollies on the final day.
Sectional qualifier Cameron Smith continued with his dream major championship debut, shooting back-to-back par rounds of 70 to comfortably make the cut before surging right into contention with a one-under 69 on Saturday.
Cameron Smith waves to the crowd during the third round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay (Credit: USGA/Michael Cohen)
Smith now sits just three shots adrift of the leaders, tied for fifth place at one-under par, and will go out with South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen in the final round a genuine chance at a stealing the title.
“Today was an awesome experience,” the 21-year old said following the round.
“I felt like there was a few more people out there today, obviously probably being at the back of the field. But I just kept it in myself and just kept playing.”
“It’s like a dream come true, really. That’s all I can say.”
Smith qualified for the championship just last week, extending his recent penchant for turning opportunity into success on the PGA TOUR. Smith finished tied for 5th in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last November, which earned him further starts on Tour.
So far this season, he had made four of nine starts and was well placed to earn his full Tour card prior to this week.
Suddenly, he’s on the brink of of a life-changing opportunity but is refusing to get ahead of himself or get too caught up in the occasion. In fact, he has impressed with his calmness and laid back approach to the biggest week of his life to date.
“The game plan today was 18 pars, get out there and play smart and just putt it well. That’s been the game plan all week. And if I can do that tomorrow, hopefully be in with a shot.”
Chambers Bay has come in for some mixed reviews from the players this week but Smith is revelling in the strategy of the layout and the challenge the setup presents.
“You have to hit every shot. Sometimes it’s a bit like you just throw the yardage book out and hit a shot. I like that kind of golf. And I think it’s a good challenge.”