NSW Golf

Smyth down in epic quarter-final

Travis Smyth
Travis Smyth blasts from a bunker at Riviera. Picture: USGA

Travis Smyth was typically upbeat today despite falling on the wrong side of an epic US Amateur battle.

The New South Welshman drew an unlucky heavy lie over the back of the 18th green en route to a bogey that cost him a 1-dn loss to American Doc Redman in their quarter-final in Los Angeles today.

But while the opportunity lost clearly hurt, a tremendous week soon became a great lesson for a big couple of months ahead.

"I just feel a little bit more confident knowing I have the game, knowing that I can compete with the world's best for sure," Smyth said.

"It's a matter of thinking about it and then going out and actually doing it. I beat a lot of good players this week and I'm going to draw from that."

In a cracking match with Redman in which the lead either changed or was lost no fewer than 13 times, the stage was set for a grandstand finish at Riviera Country Club when Smyth's birdie putt on 17 was conceded to bring the match back to square.

But a touch of bad luck at the wrong time proved costly for the St Michaels member.

"I went up 18 and probably hit two of the best shots I've hit all week," the NSW state team representative said.

"That 7-iron I hit was high and fading and it landed a good 10, 15 yards short of that flag and still went 15 yards past over the back and just drew like a tough, sticky lie in that kikuyu grass.

"I thought I hit a great chip. The difference between half a foot there like where it landed was determining whether it was a tap-in or a 10-footer, which I had, and it just didn't fly on to the green and just stopped right in front of me basically.

"Yeah, he made a great par and took it to victory."

Earlier, Smyth had looked promising when he took the only 2-up lead of the match with a birdie on the 11th.

"But then I missed a short one to go 3-up on 12 and I think that sort of let him back in a little bit," the Shellharbour ace said.

"He made a great birdie on the next, and then I made a bad double on the par-3 (14th), so then let him right back in.

"Then he got some momentum and hit some really good shots coming down the stretch. I just didn't hit the shots I would've liked."

Smyth, who had been the last of a record 11-strong Australian contingent this week, said his plans to turn professional later in the year would hinge on his performance at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in New Zealand in October.

"I've already entered European Tour school first stage, so I'll play that," he said.

"In between first and second stage we have the Asian Pacific Amateur that everyone knows you get a start in the Masters (if you win).

"So `plan A' was to go well this week or win the Asian Am. I guess we'll just see where we are October, November."

19 January 2019
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NSW Golf