Smith eyes back to back amateur titles

The Lake Macquaire Amateur commences this Thursday at Belmont Golf Club south of Newcastle to be played over 72 holes of stroke play.

Defending champion Daniel Nisbet has since turned professional yet the field includes many of our top amateurs including recently crowned Australian Amateur Cameron Smith and the Australian Master of the Amateurs champion Viraat Badhwar.

Cameron Smith Cameron Smith eyes back to back amateur titles after claiming the 2013 Australian Amateur title on the weekend (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Brady Watt has also entered and our top-ranked world amateur at 16 and +5.6 maker should be in the mix come Sunday’s final round.

Brett Drewitt will also be looking to get his game ready in preparation for defending his NSW Amateur title after a disappointing result at the Australian Amateur.

Dale Brant-Richards played well last week at the Australian Amateur upstaging a number of marque players, including Brett Drewitt in the first round, on his way to a quarter-final appearance.

He’s another player to watch this week as well as Queensland’s Aaron Wilkin, who progressed to the 3rd round at the Australian Amateur.

The Lake Macquaire Amateur was first played in 1958, and past winners include Geoff Ogilvy in 1997, Jarrod Lyle (2003-4), Marc Leishman in 2005 and Kieran Pratt in 2010.

The event has a rich history and is the pride of the Belmont Golf Club, a Club which has over the years ensured this great amateur event continues to provide the perfect test for our best amateurs.

The Belmont layout might not be overly long and is open, yet when the wind gets up it shows it’s teeth and even the very best struggle.

Classic tournament finishes are common at Belmont, no more so than in 2006.

That year Jason Day shot a course record 63 in the final round to force extra holes, followed by a sudden death playoff against Englishman, Adam Gee, with Gee eventually winning.

This year should be no different and it will be interesting to see how Cameron Smith bounces back after his sensational craw-back victory last week at Commonwealth Golf Club over Geoff Drakeford.