Bexley Golfing gun Jeffrey Guan has snared the Cameron Smith scholarship for 2023 – one of the first two recipients from outside Queensland since the award’s inception.
The Scholarship, awarded nationally for the first time, comes directly from British Open Championship winner Smith asking that the prize, handed out in his name since 2016, be broadened.
Guan, a two-time national junior champion who plays out of The Australian Golf Club, was part of the winning NSW unit at the Australian Interstate Teams Matches last week at St. Michael’s Golf Club.
Regarded as one of the best talents to have emerged in Australia for some time, Guan was floored when he heard the news of his selection.
“I was playing a Junior 6’s tournament when Tony (Meyer) from Golf Australia phoned to tell me,” Guan said. ” I didn’t know who he was; I thought it was a prank call.”
“Playing the next hole, I was just so shocked. I didn’t know how to process it at first, but I thought it was really cool.”
“It had always been awarded to Queenslanders, so when I did find out it was real, I couldn’t keep it to myself, I had to tell my parents.”
Tony Meyer, Golf Australia’s High-Performance Director, said making the Scholarship a national prize was exciting for the game and the development of the sport’s brightest stars.
“We’re delighted that this prestigious Scholarship will be awarded nationally from now.
“It’s what Cameron wanted, and we’re happy to facilitate that. It’s absolutely appropriate, given his status as a worldwide player and one of the sport’s superstars.
18-year-old Jeffrey Guan has scored one of two Cameron Smith Scholarships! Jeff will head over to the United States next month to spend a week being mentored by Smith at his Florida home before travelling with the world No.8 for of the US Open. Congratulations Jeff 👏Posted by Golf NSW on Wednesday, 17 May 2023
“We know from past visits that, first of all, the players get so much out of spending time with Cameron, who they all look up to, but we also know that Cameron loves imparting that knowledge.
“It’s part of his DNA that he wants to help others at a stage of their lives when they do need some guidance,” Meyer said.
The Cameron Smith Scholarship began in 2016 when the Queensland superstar broke onto the world scene and gave back some prize money to help promote young players.
It is part of Golf Australia’s Give Back program, where successful professionals agree to surrender a portion of their earnings with specific trigger points to acknowledge the help provided along the way and a means of future-proofing the sport.
Money from the giveback program is funnelled back into elite amateur training programs via the Australian Golf Foundation.
Minjee Lee and Lucas Herbert are among those to have handed back sums. Smith’s contribution since 2018 is through his travel scholarship and awarded to two elite amateurs annually who get to travel to his home in Florida for a week’s practice and mentoring.
Past recipients include Jed Morgan, Louis Dobbelaar, Billy Dowling, Kai Komulainen, Elvis Smylie and Tyler Duncan.
Western Australia’s 17-year-old rising star Joseph Buttress is the other recipient of the Scholarship this year.
When they travel to the US in June on the Scholarship, Guan and Buttress will receive the bonus of spending time with Smith at this year’s US Open at the Los Angeles Country Club and Smith’s Florida home base.