Smith holds one-shot lead heading into final day of qualifying
Still scarred by the memory of a horrific, late second-round collapse that put paid to his dreams of appearing in the inaugural PGA Tour Bermuda Championship, Camiko Smith is back in pole position and refusing to get ahead of himself.
The Bermudian professional carded a one-under-par round of 70 at Port Royal Golf Course, featuring an eagle at the 7th, to lead by one stroke after the first round of local qualifying.
However, after finding himself in a similarly promising position last year, taking a lead into the 13th hole before disaster struck, Smith knows he cannot afford to allow inconsistency to creep in.
“I’m happy with my round today but I was in a good position in last year’s qualifier and things went wrong on the second day, so I know anything can happen,” he said.
“I was leading on the second day going into the 13th hole but made a huge mistake and that ultimately cost me a spot in the main tournament.”
Smith could have his place more academic had he sustained a blistering start that took him to four under after seven holes, including birdies at Nos 2 and 3, but closed the back nine with a double-bogey six and surrendered two more shots on the par-three 16th to come back to the field and set up a titillating denouement.
“With this sport, you can’t think anything is guaranteed,” he said.
“I’m just trying to learn from those mistakes and try not repeat them this time around. It’s important going forward that I just stick to my routine, relax and take it one shot at a time.
“It’s a dream of mine to play in a PGA Tour event, so tomorrow I’ll be determined to come out and repeat what I did today.”
Amateur Will Haddrell leads the chasing pack, after he ended up with a score of 71, including four birdies, one shot ahead of fellow amateur Jarryd Dillas.
“I’m delighted to be right in the mix,” Haddrell said. “I played some really good and some really bad golf, but I’d have definitely taken second place going into the last day.
“I thought there would have been a few lower scores, but I’m delighted to see there wasn’t and to finish where I did.
“For someone who isn’t a professional, I’m relishing going into the final qualifying round one shot off the lead and I would love to qualify for a PGA Tour event. It would be my crowning moment.”
The battle for the three qualifying spots remains finely poised heading into today, with the likes of Michael Sims at two over and Daniel Augustus three over within touching distance of the leader.
While many have high expectations of Sims — who finished highest among the five local players in the main event last year, missing the cut by just two shots — the man himself is taking no notice as he attempts to remain focused.
“I’m not too disappointed with the position I’m in and tomorrow is another day to make things right,” he said.
“Even though I qualified for last year’s main event, I’m not putting any expectations on myself because a lot of things have changed in the last year.
“Of course, I’d love to qualify again but I’m just staying in my own head and focusing on myself.”
Augustus was left to rue his fortune after a number of agonisingly close putts left him with four bogeys and a disappointing double bogey on the 14th, in a round of 74, despite feeling he had played well.
“I didn’t really feel like I did too much wrong today,” he said.
“I felt like I was I was playing well but it was just a strange day in which I had some bad luck, particularly with the putter.
“Sometimes scores don’t reflect the way you played, and that’s what I’m focusing on going into tomorrow’s final round.
“Tomorrow is another day and I just have to stay positive and take it one shot at a time.
“It’s tough having experienced last year’s main event because you want to be able to play in those PGA Tour events and you can think I should be there again after qualifying last year.
“However, you’re not owed anything and I know I have to go out there and make sure I take one of those qualifying spots.
“I have that desire to do it again. Playing in a tournament like that, in front of the home fans, of course I want to experience that again. I know what I have to do and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
With the field still relatively close, that belief of being able to clinch one of those three coveted spots remains a realistic possibility for anyone from Dwayne Pearman and amateur Mikus Ming, both also on three over, all the way down the leaderboard to the likes of Anthony Phipps in eleventh on five over par.
1 Camiko Smith 70
2 Will Haddrell (a) 71
3 Jarryd Dillas (a) 72
4 Michael Sims 73
5 Daniel Augustus 74
6 Dwayne Pearman 74
7 Mikus Ming (a) 74
8 Andrew Trott 75
9 Robert Vallis (a) 75
10 Eric West (a) 76
11 Anthony Phipps 76
12 Philip Hagen (a) 77
13 Mark Robinson (a) 77
14 Fraser Hunt (a) 77
15 Scott Roy77
16 Christopher Smith 78
17 Mark Phillips 78
18 Andrew Trott-Francis 78
19 Chaka DeSilva79
20 Jevon Roberts (a) 80
21 Calvin Hendrickson (a) 82
22 Michael Wells (a) 86
23 Tariqah Walikraam86
24 Cornell Bean Jr 87
Second-round tee times
10.00: Michael Wells (a), Tariqah Walikraam, Cornell Bean Jr.
10.10: Chaka Desilva, Jevon Roberts (a), Calvin Hendrickson (a).
10.20: Christopher Smith, Mark Phillips, Andrew Trott-Francis.
10.30: Mark Robinson (a), Fraser Hunt (a), Scott Roy.
10.40: Eric West (a), Anthony Phipps, Philip Hagen (a).
10.50: Mikus Ming (a), Andrew Trott, Robert Vallis (a).
11.00: Michael Sims, Daniel Augustus, Dwayne Pearman.
11.10: Camiko Smith, Will Haddrell (a), Jarryd Dillas (a).