He has joined him in the history books and now Robert Allenby expects Cameron Smith to go on and conquer the world.
Smith became the fifth player to win back-to-back Australian PGA Championship titles since the format changed to four rounds of strokeplay in 1964, joining the likes of Allenby (2000-2001), Greg Norman (1984-1985), Randall Vines (1982-1983) and Bruce Devlin (1969-1970) to win in successive years.
A four-time winner, Allenby turned back the clock himself to finish the 2018 tournament in a tie for 16th at 4-under par, 12 shots behind the man he believes will soon follow in the footsteps of Queensland major winners such as Jason Day and Adam Scott.
“Cameron is an amazing player,” said Allenby.
“He’s got the whole package
“He’s awesome. He’s probably the next Jason Day.”
Poised to break into the top 30 on the Official World Golf Rankings following his second win at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, Smith has been thrust forward as the face of the game in Australia this summer.
As Day and Scott elected to skip Australia’s two tournaments and Marc Leishman played the World Cup and PGA Championship, for the past three weeks Smith has been asked to step into the breach.
Conceding that additional sponsor and media commitments is something he is still coming to terms with, Smith understands that such exposure is about to become the norm.
“It definitely has been a little bit different coming home this year,” Smith acknowledged.
“A little bit more attention on myself, making a commitment to doing media and other commitments as well.
“I think I've done a pretty good job of it. I haven't let it stress me out, although it's just something that I'm not used to.
“Last week (at the World Cup) was a big week for ‘Leish’ and I especially so I think I've done a pretty good job of it.”
Before he returns to his home in America to oversee the installation of a new barbecue, Smith will be on hand for the Cameron Smith Junior Classic at Wantima Country Club in Brisbane’s north and be back in Queensland for Christmas.
After stumbling early in his round on Sunday, Smith said it was the encouragement of his caddie Sam Pinfold and friends and family in the gallery – some of whom he shared a house with all week – that enabled him to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-stroke win.
“A couple weeks ago at the Aussie Open, being the highest ranked Aussie there probably put a little bit too much pressure on myself to play well and got off to a bit of a bad start,” Smith admitted.
“I played well over the weekend and salvaged a top 10.
“This week, I don't do much after the rounds, I just go and hang out with the family and friends on the beach.
“When I was at the golf course I was still into it 100 per cent. I wasn't just here to play, I wanted to win, but I think the stuff off the course definitely helped this week.”
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