PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — A top-five finish at this week’s Genesis Open would likely secure Cameron Smith a spot in the WGC-Mexico Championship later this month. It would also go a long way toward securing a spot in the Masters.
After a six-under 65 Saturday at Riviera Country Club to get within two strokes of leader Bubba Watson he has his sights set on something bigger: Winning.
That would take care of both.
“Typically, I really haven’t played that well around here,” said Smith, who finished T-28 and T-63 in his only other appearances at Riviera. “A few Aussies have done well here, so hopefully I can just put it all together [Sunday] and try to get it done.”
And add his name to the list—Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby are all past winners of the event. Baddeley, who won in 2011, is in contention again this year, four off the lead.
That players from Down Under have fared well at Riviera isn’t a huge surprise. The course boasts a lot of the similarities of those that Smith and others from Australia grew up playing, including kikuyu grass.
It should also help that Smith can lean on the experience of having won before. In December, he won the Australian PGA Championship in a playoff and last May teamed with Jonas Blixt to capture the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, also in extra holes.
“Just knowing I can get it done is a huge help,” Smith said.
He’s also not even thinking about Mexico, or the Masters. He knows one takes care of the other.
“I don’t come to a golf tournament to run second or third,” he said. “I’ll go out there [Sunday] and stick to my guns and see what happens.”