Young Queensland golfer Cameron Smith played with maturity beyond his years as he made a solid start to his major championship career at the US Open.
The 21-year-old could have been easily another US Open casualty when he double bogeyed the 13th hole at Chambers Bay, the fourth of his round.
But rather then let it rattle him Smith immediately bounced back with two consecutive birdies and eventually signed for a solid even-par round of 70 to be just five off the early lead.
“I’m pumped. Started off a bit shaky – a double on my fourth hole, but brought it back with a couple of birdies in a row and that got the momentum going and held on to it pretty good for the rest of the day,” Smith said.
“I could have let that get to me but my caddie Dan said `just keep at it, it’s a US Open, it happens. You’ve just gotta take it on the chin and keep moving forward’.
“I just got on with it and did my stuff the rest of the day.”
After par on his opening hole, the 10th, Smith was in early trouble when he found a large strategic mound of deep rough in the middle of the 11th fairway.
Forced to just pitch out he hit his approach to 30-feet but made the long putt to stay even to get his first big major championship roar.
He was hoping for another on the next hole but his six-foot birdie effort slid past and then a wild drive on the 13th set him on track for his double.
Two stunning approaches on his next two holes to inside two feet allowed him to rub out the deficit and when he birdied the 18th he actually made the turn under par.
A bogey on the second dropped him back level where he stayed after seven straight pars to close his round.
“The crowds got bigger as the day went on and there were a couple of big roars and it was a pretty cool experience,” he said.
“I think I’m in a pretty good spot and there are a couple of pins that if you go at you’re in a really bad spot, so I’m happy with 70 and that was sort of the game plan all day.
“It was tough but fair. The game plan was to make 18 pars and that was sort of how it ended up. So I’ll keep the game plan exactly the same tomorrow and hopefully a few more putts can go in.”
Smith is chasing a high finish to potentially gain status on the PGA Tour.