Cameron Smith has his sights set on breaking into the top-20 players in the world this year; a win at this week’s Genesis Open would carry him almost all the way there.
Tied for sixth in his third appearance at Riviera Country Club 12 months ago, the 25-year-old Queenslander has finished inside the top-25 in five of six starts this year to climb to 27 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Amongst the Australians, he is third behind only Jason Day (11th) and Marc Leishman (18th) and wants to use the Genesis Open to further advance his position.
Paired with eventual champion Bubba Watson, Smith shot 71 in the final round last year and would love nothing more than to join Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby as Aussie winners at one of America’s most acclaimed courses.
"This tournament always has a high-quality field; it's one of the most prestigious events on tour and it'd be special to put my name on the trophy," Smith told AAP.
“One of my big goals for this year is to crack that top-20 and keep working my way up the rankings.
"I know what I'm capable of but I know it's not going to come without hard work."
Baddeley is the most recent Aussie to triumph at Riviera having won in 2011 and earned his way into the field this week through the Monday qualifier, the second time he has secured a start this season.
Coming in a rain-affected 36-holes in 2005, Scott’s win in 2005 is considered an unofficial victory and he comes into this week having finished second in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines two starts ago.
Also in the field this week are Leishman, John Senden, Rod Pampling, Curtis Luck and Cameron Davis.
The Web.com Tour reaches the American mainland for the first time this year with the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Florida where four Australians and Kiwi Tim Wilkinson will tee it up.
Rhein Gibson and Cameron Percy were both tied for fifth at last week’s Panama Championship to move up into 14th and 16th place on the Order of Merit, closely followed by Wilkinson (25th) and Brett Coletta (27th) after they both recorded top-20 finishes in Panama.
Sydney’s Brett Drewitt is the only other Australian playing at Lakewood National Golf Club where he will be eager to improve his position of 48th on the moneylist.
The Champions Tour is also in Florida this week where Victorian David McKenzie is the sole Australian in the field for the Chubb Classic.
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