Sony Open Recap: Smith Turns a Corner
Sony Open Recap: Smith Turns a Corner

This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.

Cameron Smith played his first PGA Tour event when he was just 21 and now, more than five years later, still barely looks old enough to drive. He arrived from Australia with massive talent, obviously, though it wasn't translating into predicted success, winless in more than 100 tournaments.

But over the past month, as if all at once, there has been a transformation. First, it was the mild-mannered Smith who minced no words when he fired a shot heard 'round the golf world, calling Patrick Reed "a cheat" right before the normally genial Presidents Cup. Then last week, his voice was heard once again, expressing anguish over the massive fires engulfing his homeland. "Australia is burning, and I'm lost for words!" read Smith's posted on Instagram, vowing to help raise donations through his golf.

And on Sunday we saw the latest stage of Smith's maturation. He birdied the 18th hole to force a playoff with Brendan Steele, then parred the first extra hole to capture the Sony Open at famed Waialae Country Club. At 26, he had finally won a PGA Tour event on his own, having previously paired with Jonas Blixt to win the 2017 Zurich Classic.

More and more we are seeing golfers win in their early 20s – just last year, Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa and Joaquin Niemann. Smith had been on Tour when they were all in high school. Twenty-six is of course far from old, either in golf or life, but it

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Hochberg covers golf for RotoWire. A veteran sports journalist, he contributes to Sports on Earth and was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years.
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