‘Home’ advantage can aid Smith in PGA Tour debut
Camiko Smith will make his debut in a PGA Tour event virtually playing in his back yard.
The 35-year-old professional lives just across the fairway leading to the fourth hole bordering Spring Benny Road, Sandys, which he birdied on the way to victory at this week’s PGA Tour Bermuda Championship local qualifying event at Port Royal Golf Course.
“It felt good to birdie No 4, my home hole, and I just went from there,” said Smith, who carded a one-under-par 141 to win the 36-hole championship by five shots.
“This really means a lot, especially with it [Bermuda Championship] being at my home course. The course is actually in my front and back yard. Spring Benny might be lit up.”
Hard work and dedication has ultimately paid off for the Port Royal professional, who is looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite in a PGA Tour event.
“This is something I have been wanting to do my entire life and I have done a bunch of Tour qualifiers,” Smith added.
“Playing in a PGA Tour event is a dream come true and a great opportunity that doesn’t come around too often.”
Professionals Michael Sims and Anthony Phipps secured the remaining two qualifying spots up for grabs.
This week’s triumph was Smith’s second in three months, having also captured a maiden BPGA Stroke Play Championship title at the third attempt at Tucker’s Point in July.
“I feel really confident and I have been swinging well.” he said. “My ball striking is back and I’m hitting greens.”
Smith’s recent success can also be attributed to an equally impressive short game, which he underlined on the final hole at this week’s qualifier after getting up and down to save par having missed the fairway and green.
He has also benefited from a new mental approach to the game.
“The mental side of my game has improved,” Smith said. “I have been working on the mental side of my game for awhile, just letting the bad shots come and go.
“It’s like life; sometimes things happen and you just can’t do anything about it. You just have to adjust to it.”
Smith has now turned his attention to prepping for the upcoming Bermuda Championship, having punched his ticket to the big dance.
“I plan to put in more preparation,” he said.
“It’s a little fine tuning that I have to do. Just stick to my routine; going to the gym in the morning and more emphasis on my short game and driver.”
The Bermuda Championship will be played from October 29 to November 1.