Camiko Smith building up towards something special
Camiko Smith reckons his career is headed in the right direction after impressing at a US golf tournament last week, part of an effort to secure PGA Tour status.
“I am getting a little bit better every day and the results are showing from the work that I have been putting in on and off the course,” he told The Royal Gazette. “I am just trusting the process that my coach, Carlos Brown, and team have been working on.”
The professional is taking part in the Monday qualifiers for the Korn Ferry Tour, which is a pathway for those seeking to earn their PGA Tour cards.
“The qualification process to earn a PGA Tour card comes through competing on one of the qualifying tours and I am focused on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Smith added.
“In addition, my training and development to enable me to compete at the highest level is significantly enhanced with me being physically in the US. My coach is also a resident in the US and my ability to work with him directly from time to time is critical.
“Every Bermudian athlete who has been successful competing at a world-class level has benefited from training and competing abroad.”
Smith made his debut in a PGA Tour event competing at the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course last year, when he and compatriots Michael Sims and Anthony Phipps missed the cut.
The 35-year-old, who grew up right next to the par-71 Southampton layout, punched his ticket after winning the local 36-hole qualifying event by a comfortable five shots.
Smith offered a reminder of the potential he possesses on his debut at the John Shippen National Invitational at the Detroit Golf Club in Michigan last week.
He carded an even-par 144 to finish the 36-hole tournament tied for sixth among the field of 21 players who each received invitations to play.
The tournament featured the top amateur and professional Black US golfers and is named after John Shippen Jr, the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black professional, who was bestowed PGA of America membership posthumously in 2009.
“From what I gather from the organisers, it was a rigorous selection process that I am grateful to have been chosen,” Smith said. “It was most definitely an honour mainly because the premise was based around John Shippen and him being the first American-born golf professional and the first Black golf professional to compete in the 1896 US Open.”
American Timothy O’Neal won the qualifier for the PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic, that was also held at the Detroit Golf Club from July 1 to 4.