Cameron Smith "nervous" after teeing up chance for win on Australian homecoming

LIV Golf star Cameron Smith admitted he's feeling the nerves after taking the third round lead at the Australian PGA Championship.

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Sat, 26 Nov 2022
Cameron Smith "nervous" after teeing up chance for win on Australian homecoming

Cameron Smith admitted he's feeling the nerves after he teed up the chance to win on his homecoming at the Australian PGA Championship. 

Smith, 29, last tasted victory at LIV Golf's Invitational in Chicago, which was his second start on the Saudi-financed tour after jumping ship from the PGA Tour in a $140m deal. 

The Australian will take a three stroke lead into the final round of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland GC in Brisbane, Australia. 

Related: Cameron Smith on Adam Scott's LIV Golf dilemma

Smith carded an opening round of 68 on Thursday. A 65 on Friday separated him from the field and on Saturday wildly entertaining 2-under 69 gave him a three-shot cushion over China's Yan Wei Liu. 

Australia's Min Woo Lee is lurking behind Smith in T-4 at 7-under. 

Smith overcame a four-shot deficit to rain on Rory McIlroy's parade at the 150th Open Championship in July at St. Andrews. 

His round threatened very briefly to come a little bit unstuck at the famous Road Hole on 17 but he produced one of the most clutch two putts for par in recent memory en route to winning the claret jug. 

In his winner's interview - apart from getting a bit ticked off over a question about joining LIV Golf - Smith admitted that during that back nine he couldn't feel his hands by the time he reached the 14th hole because of the nerves. Apparently, he was struggling to drink water. 

Smith told the media about his nerves on Saturday:

"It means you're playing really good golf and what better time, really, to be playing good golf than when you're in contention? It's a really cool [mental place] to be in. I love that feeling, for some reason."

He added: 

"I still get nervous. I think I've become better at handling the nerves and playing under the nerves."

Related: Has Adam Scott just committed to the PGA Tour? 

Smith spent the earlier part of this week expressing frustration that the world ranking situation has not yet been sorted out. 

LIV Golf are not yet accredited by the Official World Golf Ranking [OWGR]. This debate about whether or not the Saudi-financed series deserves to have OWGR accreditation has become increasingly bitter, dividing opinion of some of the biggest names in the sport. 

Smith said of the world ranking points debate: 

"Since joining [LIV], I feel not having any points has definitely hurt me a fair bit. Especially with the golf, I've been playing some really, really solid golf. Yeah, it's a bit of a pain, but there's no pressure to come out here."

Another LIV Golf player, Kevin Na, was scheduled to participate in the Australian PGA Championship alongside Smith, but was forced to withdraw through injury before hitting a shot. 

Na is currently ranked the World No. 47 and was looking to cement his place in the 2023 Masters.

Australian PGA Championship leaderboard 

Next page: Sergio Garcia set to slip outside OWGR top 100