Australia's Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith, who is three shots off the lead, says being the centre of attention can be draining. Image by Michael Errey/AAP PHOTOS
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Australia’s Smith in hunt as American Steele leads LIV

Steve Larkin April 27, 2024

Cameron Smith feels comfortable, tired and sorry for the old lady he hit as he plots a last-round charge to victory at LIV Golf’s Adelaide tournament.

The Australian drawcard is three shots shy of second-round American leader Brendan Steele at the Grange Golf Club.

Smith says he feels comfortable on course, a tad tired from all the attention, and grateful for the lady his errant shot hit on the 17th hole.

The blow rebounded kindly and Smith made a birdie – one of seven in a smooth 65 on Saturday for the Queenslander.

“I felt really bad for the old lady  … I hit her in the back,” Smith said.

“It probably wasn’t going to be in the trees, but it was going to be in the rough and a different lie, so it could have been a different outcome.

“But (I) made her proud and made a birdie there, and she helped me out – hopefully that eased the pain a little bit for her.

“She was nice. I went over there and I signed a ball, and she said ‘just give me a hug’, so I gave her a hug as well. She was sweet.”

Smith is 11 under, three shots behind American Steele, who carded a stunning eight-under 64.

Steele leads from New Zealander Danny Lee (13 under), who lamented a double-bogey in his 67 to follow his first-round 64.

Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz and Mito Pereira are firmly in the frame at 12 under, followed by a batch including Smith, who said the raucous home crowd was a double-edged sword.

“It definitely makes it harder, it’s not making it any easier out there,” he said.

“The support is amazing, but there’s a lot going through your mind every second of the day.

“It’s very tiring … a good and a bad thing at the same time.”

Steele, a three-time US PGA Tour winner, shot nine birdies, with a bogey at the par-4 11th his sole blemish.

And he predicted a 20-under total after Sunday’s final round would be needed to take the $6.1 million winner’s cheque.

“There’s good scores out there for sure,” he said.

“If you’re in the fairway, then you can take on a lot of the pins.”

Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz and Mito Pereira are firmly in the frame at 12 under, followed by a batch at 11 under including Smith, whose compatriot Matt Jones is 10 under.

Fellow Aussie Marc Leishman slipped in a horror patch of three bogeys in four holes – he finished six under after carding a 71 – while Lucas Herbert rebounded from his first-round one-over to shoot a seven-under 65.

Japan’s overnight leader Jinichiro Kozuma failed to cash in on his nine-under opening round, enduring a topsy-turvy time – an eagle, three birdies and four bogeys in his 71.