Smyth to take form Stateside

By Brian Keogh

Wentworth wonder Des Smyth is keeping his fingers crossed that he can take his European form transatlantic for the rest of the season.

The Mornington man is on a high following his impressive two-shot win in Sunday's Wentworth Senior Masters on the European Seniors Tour.

But with his Champions Tour card still hanging in the balance, Smyth is not getting ahead of himself as he faces a vital four-week stretch in the US.

With just six days to go before he jets out to the west coast for the final senior major of the season, Smyth is hoping his confidence will soar like his bank balance.

He said: "I haven't had the best season and I was very happy to win. It will give me a boost of confidence and hopefully I can turn the corner in America now.

"I have flattered to deceive in recent months. I have shot some good scores and then I have back up nearly every time. And that is only because my game hasn't been good enough.

"Even though I won yesterday and I managed myself very well, getting round that course without a bogey, which is very impressive, I don't quite feel that I am there yet.

"But the Edinburgh Course really is a course that can jump up and bite you and it is a much tighter course than the West course. So this might give me the confidence to take it on.

"It was nice to win at Wentworth. I was beaten in a play-off for the PGA there by Rodger Davis in 1986, so it was a bonus to come back and win.

"Irish golf has never had it so good. It is great payback for all the people who have invested so much in golf in this country.

"They are getting a good return for all the systems that the kids go through. And Padraig in particular has just done enormous stuff."

Ranked 37th in the Champions Tour money list with $337,845 from 17 events, Smyth is just $60,000 adrift of the top 30 who are guaranteed starts in every US senior event next season.

Smyth's next event is the final Senior Major of the season, the $2.6 million JELD-WEN Tradition at the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed Crosswater Golf Club in Oregon from August 16-19.

And to make sure he gives himself the best possible chance of pulling out a top drawer performance, the Drogheda native will travel this Sunday, stopping off in Los Angeles before heading north along the west coast to one of America's longest courses.

He said: "I am going over early because I want to give myself a few days to recover. It is a long trip to get there and I have given myself an extra day to recover from the eight hour time change.

"A win is a win but I need it on the other side of the Atlantic. The top 30 would leave me very comfortable for next year but I could probably slip out to 32nd or 33rd and still be pretty solid regarding starts next year.

"The top 30 is a guarantee and that is where you want to go. So let's see if I can take it on from here.

"A lot of the game is confidence but I have to be able to hit the shots that I want to hit to feel confident. Once I am doing that I have no trouble dealing with the situation - playing in the last groups or dealing with the pressure of winning

"I don't have a problem doing that once my game is right and the problem is that my game hasn't been right.

"I am still not playing all the shots that I want. I am actually finding it easier to draw the ball nowadays, but I am having more trouble swinging it the other way.

"The fade is a shot I like to play a lot but I am not making as often as I would like to at the moment."

Smyth hopes his Wentworth win will be worth far more to him that the €55,753 top prize - confidence is the only currency that counts.