Camiko Smith takes early control of Moongate Tour Championship
Camiko Smith set the early pace during the opening round of the Moongate Tour Championship at a windswept Port Royal Golf Course yesterday.
The professional coped best in the trying conditions on the way to an impressive four-under 67 that left him two shots clear of nearest rival Will Haddrell.
“I am pretty pleased with my round,” Smith told The Royal Gazette. “Obviously let a few birdies get away from me, but I am pleased considering the conditions. It’s windy, so it’s pretty tough for everybody out there.
“The guys have been playing really well also, so I knew I had to bring my game. I have been working really hard, and these guys have as well, so I brought a little bit of it today.”
Smith was two-under through six holes after rattling in successive birdies at No 3, 4 and 5 to offset a bogey at the par-five 2nd.
All of his hard work came undone as successive bogeys at 7 and 8 pegged him back at even par at the turn.
However, Smith hit top stride on the back nine as he carded four birdies to afford himself a bit of breathing room at the top of the leaderboard with 18 holes left to play.
A short birdie putt at 10 set the tone for his stroll coming in before chipping in for birdies at 12 and 14 after his approach shot missed the green.
Smith then saved par at 15 after his tee found the fairway bunker and then relied on his short game again to make par on the next hole.
He then birdied the par-five 17th to go to four under and two-putted for par on the final hole to sign off a solid note.
“Basically, I wanted to have a clean scorecard on my back and I did just that,” Smith added. “Basically, just staying in the present and grinding it out being the conditions were pretty windy.
“I knew I was playing well so I just had to stick to my strategy. I was putting well, hitting my wedges well, so I just did that.”
Trailing close behind Smith’s wake is amateur Haddrell whose equally impressive two-under 69 included seven birdies.
“Overall I putted really well,” he said. “Holed some good, long putts, some really good putts didn’t go in. Missed a few sure ones but long game is OK.
“Hit it pretty straight. Not very far but kind kept it in play and then kind of just kind of kept in the round because it was a little breezy out there.
“But overall happy with how I played.
“I definitely feel I putted well in the bigger picture of things so looking forward to tomorrow and glad that I am still in the tournament and have a chance at winning.
“The rest of the group was playing pretty well, so it was a good attitude in the group and that helped spur us all on to pretty good rounds.”
In third is professional Nick Jones at one over.
“The course was playing tough and long and the wind was picking up,” he said.
“I also had a couple of mistakes and three-putted twice but I am still hitting the ball well.”
Rounding off the top five are professional and Tour co-founder Chaka DeSilva and amateur Jarryd Dillas tied for fourth at two over.
“I felt like I played OK,” Dillas said. “I left a few shots out there and spent the day watching Will make a bunch of putts, which he loved.
“It was a good day and looking forward to tomorrow.
“I think we’re supposed to get a bit more wind and maybe some rain.
“So that will be tough and will help us that are trying to chase the leaders down.”
First Round scores
Camiko Smith 67
Will Haddrell (a) 69
Nick Jones 72
Chaka DeSilva 73
Jarryd Dillas (a) 73
Dwayne Pearman 75
Delyone Borden 76
Scott Roy 76
Damian Palanyandi (a) 77
Aaron James (a) 80
Andrew Trott-Francis 80
Jevon Roberts (a) 81
Cory DeSilva 81
Matthew Smith (a) 83
Roger Brangman (a) 83