While his namesake couldn’t lead Queensland to a series-clinching win on Wednesday night, young Queensland golfer Cameron Smith is hoping the state, and the country, is cheering his name come Sunday.
The 21-year-old is more than happy for his name to be associated with the Queensland and Australian rugby league skipper but as he lines up for his maiden major championship at the US Open he is ready to forge his own identity.
As a former Australian amateur champion Smith has been plying his trade on the US PGA tour this season on limited sponsor invites, riding a T5 finish on debut in Malaysia last year to $US407,530 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 need only 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 years cut off.
“This is a good week to do something for sure,” said Smith, who birdied four of his last six holes in sectional qualifying to earn his place.
“I am playing good. I am hitting the ball solid.
“I think the key this week is just keeping out of the cabbage and just doing your work around the greens.
“I’ll try to shoot somewhere around even because that should be up there at the end of the week.”
Smith has spent the early part of the week playing practice rounds with fellow Australians Marc Leishman and Marcus Fraser and while the stage is easily the biggest he’s played on, he is yet to be overwhelmed.
If a top five finish does not come to fruition, making the cut and gaining any points will help solidify a place in the secondary web.com tour finals in September, where 25 PGA tour cards go on the line.
He’s hoping the nerves will stay measured come the first tee on Thursday and he won’t have to wait long drawing the first tee time at 7am off the 10th tee.
“This is my first major and I am really excited. I can’t wait for Thursday,” he said.
“My goal is just to get out there and have at it really and see what I can do.
“I’ve played enough now that I am starting to feel fairly comfortable around all the guys so just got to just play now, let it take care of itself.”