Anniversaries don’t count for much in the numbers game of professional golf though they can act as motivation for a player.
Wollongong’s Travis Smyth will certainly be hoping that’s the case ahead of the AVJennings NSW Open this week as he celebrates the personal milestone of two years in the pay for play ranks.
The 24-year-old has teed up in every AVJennings NSW Open played at the Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club and ahead of tomorrow’s first-round is quietly confident of his 2019 chances.
“I really like this golf course,” he said during yesterday’s Pro-Am. “This was my first event as a pro, and I have some really good memories of that week.
“It’s actually two years today since I turned so this course and tournament will always be a bit special for me in that way.”
Smyth finished T11 on debut but missed the weekend in a disappointing 2018 campaign.
On recent form, though, that seems an unlikely outcome this year. Smyth arrives in Greater Western Sydney off the back of two encouraging results on the Asian Tour, where he plies his trade full time.
“I’ve been playing nicely but more importantly scoring well the last few weeks so I quite like the way it’s trending at the moment,” he said.
“It’s been a really important learning experience playing in Asia the last couple of years, and I feel like each year I’ve improved as a player.
“My results this year haven’t been quite what I would have liked but I feel it’s actually been a really positive year in a lot of other ways.”
In fact, Smyth awarded himself ‘10 out of 10 for learning’ in 2019 and is excited about the upcoming end to the year.
“I’m a pretty hard marker so I’d only give myself 5 out of 10 for my results this year,” he said.
“But in terms of learning and knowing what I need to know to move forward? 10 out of 10 hands down.
“I’m quite excited for the next few weeks with some important tournaments to be played.”
Smyth said he has enjoyed his time playing in Asia and while the style of isn’t to his tastes he looks on it as a positive for the long term.
“Because of the climate and the sorts of grasses on most of the courses it’s a very different style of golf to what we play down here and in most parts of the world,” he said.
“But even though it’s not my favourite I know it’s going to hold me in good stead for the rest of my career.
“Part of being a professional is being able to adapt to whatever conditions you face and these last couple of years I have learnt an awful lot about that.”
While the golf may not be his favourite thing about Asia Smyth says he has relished the exposure to different countries and cultures.
“You meet so many people from so many different parts of the world and so many different cultures and religions and it is just fascinating,” he said.
“And I really feel as though you learn a lot as a person. That’s nothing to do with golf directly but I reckon it still has a bit of an impact.
“Just in the way you think about the world and your own journey. It’s all part of having perspective.”
Smyth tees off at 1.25 pm tomorrow alongside Jack Wilson and amateur Wil Arnold.
Smyth is one of five Illawarra based golfers in the field for this week’s tournament.
Amateurs Chris Campbell (Port Kembla) and Grahame Stinson (Links Shell Cove) are also playing alongside professionals Lincoln Tighe and Jordan Zunic, both formerly of Port Kembla Golf Club.