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Cam Can't Stop Thinking About the Australian Open

Cameron Smith has been thinking long and hard about winning the Australian Open. (Photo: Henry Peters)
Cameron Smith says the thought of winning his national championship has been a recurring one for two years since his heartbreaking playoff defeat to Jordan Spieth in 2016.

The World No. 33 enters tomorrow's opening round of the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney as the highest ranked homegrown star and the bookies' favourite to lift the Stonehaven Cup at week's end.

"I've been working pretty hard the last couple weeks back in Jacksonville [in Florida] and yeah, I really want to get this one," said Smith who is looking to build on his victory at last year's Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast. 

The 25-year-old had a healthy gallery for today's pro-am on a relatively soft layout and called for a firmer test to be presented over the four days of the event.

"I was just saying before how soft it is. It almost seems like American golf, it's what we play every week, so it would be nice to ‑ it would be nice to play on a bit of a firmer golf course, but I think they're just trying to save the golf course. I think it's going to get really windy, so I don't think they want another thing that happened four or five years ago, which is understandable."

Smith's recent showings at the Australian Open - 4th last year and equal second in 2016 - have armed him with added motivation to break through in Australian golf's most significant men's championship.

"The one at Royal Sydney [in 2016] was pretty heartbreaking to miss in the playoff. Yeah, and it's been basically on my mind ever since.  We've had a pretty good crack last year.  Like I say, my preparation leading up to the event the last couple years probably hasn't been the greatest. You know, my focus the last couple weeks is thinking of lifting the trophy."

From one Cameron to another, today was a first for defending champion Cameron Davis who made his debut as the subject of a pre-tournament press conference.

Cameron Davis during today's press conference at The Lakes.

The 23-year-old Sydneysider, who stunned an Australian Open field including Jason Day and Jordan Spieth 12 months ago, reflected on a breakthrough 2018 which has led him to the PGA Tour and three cuts made from his first four starts as a rookie.

"To make it to where I am right now in such a short period of time, it's been really cool," Davis said.

"I think my bad golf's not as bad anymore and my good golf is there a little bit more often."

Davis added to his trophy collection in May by winning the Web.com Tour's Nashville Open and said his view on how to win a golf tournament has shifted.

"When you win a golf tournament, I feel like you understand all of a sudden winning a golf tournament isn't about playing perfect golf and having four rounds of golf going absolutely perfectly. 

"I think I have just got a little bit better about being patient about my rounds, just not feeling like you stand on the first tee on Thursday thinking everything needs to be perfect for the whole week if I want to have a chance to win this tournament."

Davis also defended Australia's most high profile men's golfers - Adam Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman - for not taking part in their national open.

"A lot of them have come over [to play in Australia] a lot. I know there were some guys that aren't here this week that are normally here, and to come as often as they do, especially with families in America, it's a big deal. Those decisions are very difficult for them.  Sometimes they give that up to come and play, that's a big deal as well.  I understand it and I respect that."

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