How a member-guest helped Austin Smotherman shoot a career-low round in Bermuda
Austin Smotherman was told there would be wind on Thursday at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Lots of it. He came for the wind.
Then, the wind never came, at least not the gusts we were promised leading into the first round. That allowed Smotherman and the rest of the morning wave at Port Royal Golf Course to take it deep. Nine-under 62 deep in the former SMU Mustang's case, which marks his career-low round on the PGA Tour and grabbed him a share of the Day 1 lead along with Harrison Endycott.
Wind or no wind, Smotherman had a feeling something good was coming, which is what happens when you you're feeling as prepared as he was for the potential elements. Just last weekend, the elements were far more noticeable at Trinity Forest, where Smotherman was playing in the member-guest at his home club. True story.
"Oh, I enjoy windy conditions," Smotherman said when asked if he was comfortable playing when it's breezy. "Actually even this past weekend in Dallas, I played the member-guest at my home course, Trinity Forest, and so a nice little segue for me to give them a shoutout for the Crony, but we played that and we had our greens rolling maybe 13 and it blew 25, 30 [mph] all weekend. I was thinking I was coming here, getting these conditions, it's almost the opposite of what I just had. I was like, 'Come on, where's the wind?' Like we were just practicing that."
To be clear, there was still a touch of wind on Thursday, as there so often is in Bermuda. But it was nothing close to last weekend, which made Thursday seem like nothing for Smotherman.
"Good prep. Living in Dallas, you never know," he said. "As windy as it gets translates to the islands nicely."
Another plus? Smotherman was in the second group of the morning, when conditions were benign and the pace of play was ... fast?
"You always want to start off any tournament with a low number and then you get these conditions, we're second off. Pace is great," he said. "I think that group ahead of us was playing so fast just so that they could play as many holes as possible with no wind in case it was going to pick up."
That might not be the case on Friday when Smotherman goes off in the afternoon, and it definitely won't be the case if he remains in contention on the weekend and goes off in the last few groups. It will only get slower, and windier, as the week goes on. Fortunately, he played in a member-guest in Texas last weekend, so he's well-equipped to handle each of those issues.