AUSTRALIAN Travis Smyth finally got the monkey off his back and won his maiden title on the Asian Tour when he recorded an impressive two-shot victory in the $US700,000 Yeangder TPC in late September.
The 27-year-old Sydneysider drew on a season of strong performances and near misses to fire his second successive six-under-par 66 for a tournament total of 19-under at Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
A proud LIV Tour player, Smyth described the win as an amazing experience and one that would stay with him for the rest of his life.
“Playing well on Thursday and Friday, then shooting the lowest rounds of the day on Saturday and Sunday to get the victory gave me a feeling that’s pretty hard to describe,” said Smyth.
“No-one really knows how much work goes into winning a golf tournament.
“I’ve played probably close to 100 professional golf tournaments and I’ve managed to win only twice.
“I have so much respect for guys who win multiple times in one season.
“I just hope this is the start of many wins in the future.”
Smyth said a few tweaks to his driver at the beginning of the week was the key to success.
“I found something with my driver at the beginning of the week and was really ripping it,” he said.
“I’ve been playing some pretty solid golf, and I knew I could get it done.”
Smyth led by a shot overnight, and his rivals couldn’t catch him on the final day.
“Birdies on his opening two holes saw him stretch his lead, and with another two more before the ninth, he turned for home in a commanding position.
Constant drizzle and rain didn’t faze Smyth, who likened the conditions to his home course, St Michaels, a seaside layout in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“It felt very familiar, except much warmer,” he said.
“I got off to a hot start again and I was four-under through nine.
“If you’d told me I would shoot back-to-back 66s before the weekend, I would’ve been over the moon.
“This course was short and tight, but you had a lot of opportunities too.
“But it’s easy to make a bogey too.”
While Smyth has been a constant presence on the leaderboard since the Asian Tour re-started after Covid-19, the $126,000 winner’s cheque vaulted him inside the top 10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
With the top two on a mini money list exclusively from the Asian Tour’s International Series Events guaranteed a place in the 14-event LIV Golf League for 2023, Smyth is already looking forward to his next challenge.
“I played in the first three LIV events in the United Kingdom, Oregon and Bedminster, so I’ve tasted the hype around them,” he said.
“Getting back onto the LIV series is my goal, and I know the work I must do to get back there.
“I’m totally focused on it and will do whatever it takes to succeed.”
For the record, Smyth pocketed $1,315,420 in three LIV Golf tournaments making him an instant millionaire. Smyth earned his place on the Asian Tour by finishing joint third at Qualifying School in 2018 and after a number of good results since then, a first victory had been expected soon.
Additional reporting by David Newbery.
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