Cameron Smith Masters Golf 2023 Preview – Open champ still in contention?

Things haven’t exactly gone all Cameron Smith’s way over the first two days at Augusta, that’s for sure. After a very steady front nine on day one, which saw him make the turn at two under par, the Aussie struggled for consistency on the back nine, though after a couple of bogeys, he did rally to finish with a birdie on 13 and 18, ending the round at -3.

On the second day, Smith was once again up and down, the suspension of play and the need to return early on Saturday to finish the round probably not helping. The 2022 Open champion dropped shots at both the second and the fourth, before carding a third bogey at seven. An eagle on eight ensured that he didn’t drop too far back, while birdies on 14 and 15 counteracted another bogey on 10, though a final bogey at the 18th leaves him at -2 and ten behind the leader.

As we now head into the weekend, Smith, who finished third here last year, will be looking to get on the attack and close the gap between himself and the leader, who ahead of the third day is Brooks Koepka at -12.

Cameron Smith Masters Odds (after round two)

As far as the betting goes, Smith is no longer given much of a chance, which given his position. Isn’t too surprising. Sure, there were moments of clear promise for the Aussie during both round one and two, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie. He’s nine shots back and unless a few at the head of the standings falter significantly, he’s probably playing for places at best.

That may not deter some each-way punters, though. Most firms are paying the top three places on each-way bets from this point, so if he could stage a rally, there may still be nice money to be made with Smith currently available at well over 100/1 in places. If you’re confident of a charge towards the top three, then Skybet, who are currently 175/1 is the best option.

Cameron Smith Tee Times (after the cut on day two)

Having made the weekend, Cameron Smith will be one of the players with a quick turnaround time. He was one of the last round-two players out on the course on Saturday morning, which  means he will be afforded little rest between the end of his second 18 and the beginning of round three.

On the third day of the 2023 Masters, Cameron Smith is due to tee off at 11:30 local time, which in the UK will be 16:30. He will be playing alongside another Australian in Adam Scott.

Fallen in terms of popularity?

Naturally, as he thrust himself to the forefront of the game, Cameron Smith grew in popularity last year, and he quickly became one of the most liked golfers on the planet. On top of playing some outstanding golf, especially on the greens, the Aussie adopted an easy-to-like casual approach, though he didn’t really do himself any favours in terms of his popularity, especially with many fans in the US, when he left the PGA Tour to join forces with the much-criticised Saudi backed LIV Golf.

Smith, alongside a whole host of other big names, was largely maligned for his decision to join LIV Golf, both by those inside the sport and those on the outside, and to be honest, it’s hard to come up with much of a defence for the Aussie. It’s clear to everyone, no matter the reasoning given to the media, that staggering levels of financial gain was the driving force behind any player’s decision to switch to LIV.

Pre-Masters Form

Smith did choose LIV, as did lots of other big-name players, and we must all now move forward. In terms of form ahead of this event, the Aussie has been playing relatively well, though a 6th at the LIV event in Mayakoba, Mexico is his best effort of the year. In Orlando this weekend, he’ll have one final chance to play himself into red-hot form ahead of the first major of the season.

One thing is for sure, he’s not quite in the same level of form this year as he was ahead of the Masters last campaign. For starters, he’d played more golf at the highest level, while he went to Augusta National as a winner having won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. Even if he wins this week in Orlando, he’s probably not going to be in the same shape.

Has Cameron Smith won the Masters?

No, he hasn’t but he has gone close. We’re talking about an elite golfer, there’s no denying that, and the cream usually rises at Augusta. That’s exactly what Cameron Smith did last year, finishing third behind Rory McIlroy and winner Scottie Scheffler. In 2021, the man from Brisbane played well too, finishing in a tie for 10th, while he found only one too good in 2020, when finishing runner up to Dustin Johnson.

Cameron Smith Masters
Photo by Icon Sport

It’s fair to say that Smith has enjoyed his time at Augusta National, finishing inside the top ten in four out of six appearances, hitting the top three in two of the last three renewals of this iconic event.

Interestingly, of those in the field this year to have played three or more Masters tournaments, Smith rates as the eighth best player in terms of lowest average 18-hole score.

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