A tweak to his driver at the beginning of the week was all Travis Smyth needed to claim his first professional win and maiden Asian Tour title in the USD 700,000 Yeangder TPC at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club, just outside of Taipei.
The 27-year-old from Flinders on the NSW south coast, who won the NT PGA in 2017 as an amateur, carded rounds of 68, 69,66, and a closing 66 to cruise to a two-shot victory.
“I found something with my driver at the beginning of the week and was ripping it!” a jubilant Smyth said post round. “I’ve been playing some pretty solid golf, and I knew I would get it done.”
Smyth, who led by a shot overnight, was never really headed on the final day. Birdies on his opening two holes saw him stretch his lead, and with another two more before the ninth, he turned for home in a commanding position.
Constant drizzle and rain didn’t phase the St. Michael’s member, who likened the conditions to his home course admitting, “It felt very familiar except it was much warmer.”
“I got off to a very hot start, again, four under through nine. If you would have told me I would shoot back to back 66’s before the weekend I would’ve been over the moon.”
“This course is short and tight, but you get so many opportunities, given that, it’s easy to make bogey too.”
A brace of birdies from the 10th to the 12th saw Smyth extend his lead; however, an unfortunate double bogey on the 15th seemed to leave the door just slightly ajar for his pursuers.
After letting the International Series England title slip over the losing holes back in June, Smyth had no intention of making the same mistake twice. He duly converted his birdie chance on the following hole to extinguish his pursuers’ chances.
So often a presence on the leader board since the Asian Tour restarted post-COVID, the USD 126,000 winner’s cheque should see the St. Michael’s member vault into the Top five on the Asian Tour Order of Merit (OoM).
With the top two on a mini money list exclusively from the Asian Tour’s International Series Events guaranteed a place in the 14-event LIV Golf League for 2023, Smyth is already looking forward to his next challenge.
“I played in the first three LIV events in the United Kingdom, Oregon and Bedminster, so I’ve tasted the hype around them.
“Getting back onto the LIV series is my goal, and I know the work I must do to get back there. I’m totally focused on it, and will do whatever it takes to succeed.”
“I know I have to play really good in the remaining four International Series Events to get back there.”
“I haven’t reached my potential yet, and I don’t know if I ever will, but l’m on the journey to get better, and I hope next week I can go even better.”