Smith in with a shout in Jamaica

  • Blue-chip display: Camiko Smith had three late birdies (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Blue-chip display: Camiko Smith had three late birdies (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Camiko Smith thrust himself into contention during the opening round of the $100,000 Jamaica Open yesterday.

The Bermudian birdied three of the last six holes in blustery conditions at the Half Moon Golf Club in Montego Bay to finish with an encouraging one-under 71.

Smith returned to the clubhouse tied for sixth, just one shot off the lead shared by five players, among them Jamaican Ian Facey.

“I played well, played smart and stuck to my game plan,” Smith told The Royal Gazette. “I feel really good about it and my game is good.”

Smith arrived in Jamaica keen to pick up where he left off with a solid fifth-place showing at the Gosling’s Invitational.

He did just that with a birdie on the 1st hole to start his stroll around the par-72 Robert Trent Jones-designed layout on the front foot.

However, he lost some momentum after carding two bogeys either side of a birdie at the par-three 7th to make the turn at even par.

A rocky start on the back nine led to Smith ballooning to two over after four-putting for double bogey at the par-four 11th.

It proved to be a wake-up call, which Smith heeded as he carded three birdies coming in to steady the ship and stake an early claim for honours.

“The double bogey kind of woke me up a bit and then from there I ground out a few more birdies,” Smith said.

The Bermudian will look to build on his solid start in the second round of the 54-hole tournament today.

“I got off to a good start but there’s still a lot of golf to play, so I’m going to stick to what I did today,” Smith said. “Stick to my game plan; play smart golf and don’t try and get ahead of myself.

“Just take it one shot at a time and stay focused.”

Also competing in Jamaica is Dwayne Pearman, who found the going much tougher than his compatriot.

Pearman came in at six-over 78 for a share of 51st.

His round included a double bogey, five bogeys and a birdie at the par-five 8th.

In addition to the prize money on offer, the top three finishers will qualify for the inaugural $175,000 Jamaica Classic at Cinnamon Hill in Montego Bay in April.

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Published Dec 8, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 7, 2017 at 11:59 pm)

Smith in with a shout in Jamaica

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