Long game key for defending Sony Open champ Smith

13 January 2021 20:22:47

Cameron Smith says he has been working on his long game as he prepares to defend his Sony Open title in Hawaii.

The Australian claimed his first and only individual PGA Tour win in this event last season, beating American Brendan Steele in a playoff. He also won the Zurich Classic doubles event alongside Jonas Blixt in 2017 and won the Australian PGA Championship in 2017 and 2018.

Smith had finished tied for 22nd, tied for 18th and tied for 27th in the previous three years at the Sony Open before his win last season.

The 27-year-old from Brisbane has made his mark in Majors, though, finishing fourth in the 2015 US Open, while he tied for fifth in the 2018 Masters and tied for second behind Dustin Johnson in the 2020 Masters last November.

Known more for his skills on and around the greens, Smith is ranked 126th in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season and was 73rd and 92nd in the previous two seasons, and it is his long game that he wants to improve.

After the Masters, Smith was eighth in the QBE Shootout and tied for 24th in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, so he arrives in Hawaii in decent nick.

"I think the biggest thing for me is just getting back to that longer stuff," he said.

"I feel as though my short game and my putting is in a really good spot. I feel like I can make the putts when I need to make the putts. I just need to hit it closer, basically."

Smith is a?28/1 shot to secure back-to-back Sony Open titles and?14/5 for a top-ten finish.

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