Smith receives special invite to PGA Championship

Golf fans are still savouring those final hole heroics at the US Open by rookie professional Cameron Smith.

His amazing second shot at the par-five 18th resulted in an eagle at his 72nd hole and a fourth-place finish behind Jordan Spieth for the 21-year-old Asian Tour Rookie of the Year in 2014.

Cameron Smith Cameron Smith (Credit: Asian Tour)

Now we’re going to see some more major championship golf from Smith in 2015 with the revelation that he has received a special invitation to compete in the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits this week.

“I didn’t think it would all happen this quickly, but it’s definitely good that it has,” said Smith.

“At the start of the year I wanted to learn as much as I could and get as much as I could from playing in America but to have achieved this in a year is definitely unexpected.”

That eagle three at Chambers Bay, propelled Smith up the leaderboard and helped secure his PGA Tour card for 2016 as well as exemptions into next year’s US Masters and US Open.

Not bad for a young man who earned his Asian Tour card through Qualifying School in early 2014 after earlier winning all the top amateur events in Australia before turning professional.

He was soon on the radar of professional golf, notching seven top 10s in his first nine Tour starts on the Australasian and Asian Tours.

His season’s highlight was at the co-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia where he finished tied for fifth and picked up a handy cheque.

He then finished joint runner-up at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters behind talented Indian Anirban Lahiri.

Other Asian Tour members to play in the US PGA include Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Ernie Els of South Africa, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Vijay Singh of Fiji, Y.E. Yang of Korea and Lahiri.