Major championship rookie Cameron Smith has refused to be overawed at the US Open, positioning himself for an assault on the title and a US PGA tour card.
Smith put together his second consecutive even-par round of 70 to be just five shots off the lead, held by fellow 21-year-old Jordan Spieth and 24-year-old Patrick Reed at the halfway point.
While winning the tournament would obviously change his life instantly, Smith also has his sights set on gaining status on the PGA tour.
The former Australian amateur champion has been plying his trade on the tour this season on limited sponsor invites, riding a T5 finish on debut in Malaysia last year to $US407,530 ($A522,475) and 207 FedEx Cup points in nine starts.
While he has used up his allotted sponsor invites for the year, Smith could become a special temporary member should he earn 116 or more points at Chambers Bay, the equivalent of somewhere around a top-five finish.
It would enable the young star to accept further sponsor invites and put him in prime position to collect a full playing card for 2015-16.
To get those privileges, he needs only to match the 125th-ranked player on tour this year in points or money, which would be all but a lock given he would already have more money than last year’s cut off.
“It’s pleasing to be in a good position but I just take one step at a time,” Smith said.
“Just treat it as another tournament, doing my stuff out on the course. I think once you get into the zone, it sort of doesn’t really matter (that it is a major) anyway.”
Smith has been able to block out the inevitable distraction caused by major crowds and pressure to get into his ‘zone’.
“I get there by just hitting shots. You just get out there, get into a rhythm and then everything around sort of doesn’t really matter – you’re just hitting shots,” he said.
“I’m pretty happy. I could have made a few more putts today but, all in all, even par around here, you have to be happy with it.”