On Thursday at Harbour Town Golf Links, Cameron Smith opened with a sizzling round of 9-under 62 to secure a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink after day one of the RBC Heritage.
The 27 year old Aussie was immaculate in his opening round at the iconic Pete Dye designed golf course, posting a career-best 62, which featured nine pars and nine birdies including four early gains in a five-hole span (Nos. 2-6) and three over his final four on Nos. 15, 17 and 18.
Smith cited the easier conditions at Harbour Town, particularly compared to last week’s major championship setup at Augusta National.
“Yeah, I mean, I feel like after last week, I feel like chipping around here is almost like a breeze,” said Smith, who finished T10 last week at The Masters.
“I was so scared almost last week on every chip shot, and I feel like I can be really aggressive around here.”
After a round-one 63, Cink was just a shot off the pace of Smith. The 47-year old veteran opened with a bogey on No. 10 but then was perfect the rest of the way, posting an eagle alongside seven bogeys, highlighted by four in a five-hole run and two straight to close the day.
“It really was a very smooth round once I got past the obstacle of the first hole,” said Cink, who entered off a T12 at The Masters.
“Reagan [his son and caddie] was just joking with me that the only shot I didn’t consult with him on the whole day was the tee shot on 10, and I promptly cranked it straight into the lake.
“It was probably one of the worst opening drives I ever hit in my life. You’d think that’s a bad way to start, but in a way it’s a wake-up call.
“After playing in the Masters and being super focused and intense, to come here and be lazy on the first shot was kind of like a slap in the face and it got my attention.
“And so we were really good and clean the rest of the way, and no more mistakes.
“Just I really played very, very well the rest of the way.”
Two further back was Matt Wallace, who – like Smith, also signed for a bogey-free round, which included six birdies punctuated by a final-hole gain to secure the third spot on 6 under 65.
Charles Howell, Billy Horschel, Harold Varner, and Collin Morikawa were T4 on 5-under 66.
2021 RBC Heritage
Top-5 Leaders: Round One
1. Cameron Smith -9 (62)
2. Stewart Cink -8 (63)
3. Matt Wallace -6 (65)
4. Charles Howell -5 (66)
4. Billy Horschel -5 (66)
4. Harold Varner -5 (66)
4. Collin Morikawa -5 (66)
Material from PGA Tour Media & Communications was used to compile report.