Cameron Smith After his successful season in 2022 came to an anti-climactic conclusion in Melbourne, he can keep drinking.
Smith failed to make enough bogeys in his third-round one-under 69 at Victoria Golf Club on Saturday to miss out on a controversial second-place finish at the Australian Open.
Despite his best round of the week, the world No. 3 was still holding his own in 52nd place as he signed the scorecard with only the top 30 players and managed to book a Sunday tee slot.
They were still three shots below the second cut line and had no chance of progressing.
In a break with more than a century of Australian Open tradition, a double cut was introduced this year to free up enough fairway space in the final round featuring both men and women for the first time.
The 2022 Australian Open is the world’s first bisexual national championship.
But the radical innovation came at the expense of the Pied Piper of the new Australian fairways, with Smith easily the biggest victim.
Not that he was overly upset.
Even so, Smith said he had to stop at the Mooney Valley race on Friday night after discovering he had miraculously made it to the halfway point, believing he had missed it.
“It wasn’t really what I expected,” he said.
“I was very quick to the pub and probably had too many beers and then I realized we had an early time so I went back to the water and was a good boy for the rest of the night.”
The 150th British Open champion made an early charge on Saturday, carding two birdies on his back nine to finish at even par.
But a bogey on the par-4 third hole, on the 12th after a bogey start on the 10th, sealed the start of the final.
Despite hearty and vocal support from the large gallery following each shot, Smith was unable to procure another birdie.
“I thought I had it in me today and I hit a lot of good golf shots but I just couldn’t cash in,” he said.
“I hit good putts but they weren’t going in. It just wasn’t my week.
“I thought it would take three or four under and the style didn’t change at all – go out and play really good golf and I thought I played hard.
“The putts just didn’t go in.”
Smith won’t be officially cut until Saturday’s third round.
But he is unlikely to add a fifth win of the year to his tally at the PGA Tour’s Century of Champions, The Players Championship, St Andrews Open and last week’s Australian PGA.