First, it was Perth’s Curtis Luck, now Wollongong’s Travis Smyth has created quite the stir by reaching the lofty heights of the quarter finals of the United States Amateur Championship in Los Angeles last week.
Sporting the same ‘man bun’ hairstyle as his good friend and 2016 U.S. Amateur champion Luck, Smyth took to the hallowed fairways of the Bel-Air Country Club and the famed Riviera Country Club and reached the final eight, before being vanquished in a see-sawing encounter with American Doc Redman – who went on to win the title.
The New South Welshman drew an unfortunate lie over the back of the 18th green that cost him a bogey and the match 1-down to Redman.
"I just feel a little bit more confident knowing I have the game, knowing that I can compete with the world's best for sure," the 21-year old said following the defeat.
"It's a matter of thinking about it and then going out and actually doing it. I beat a lot of good players this week and I'm going to draw from that."
In a coup for Territory golf fans, Smyth will join fellow Australian representative Zac Murray and Northern Territory amateurs Alex Brennan and Brad Stankiewicz in flying the amateur flag at Palmerston next week, before heading into camp with an Australian squad selected for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington, NZ in October.
Both Smyth and Murray have impressive amateur credentials and possess the skills that could easily see either vie for the title at Palmerston.
In addition to his performance in the U.S. last week, Smyth had a series of fantastic results last year when runner-up in the Australian Amateur, finishing second to Luck at the WA Open and tying for 30th in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney.
20-year old Murray from Melbourne is a past Victorian Amateur champion and won the prestigious Australian Master of the Amateurs title at Royal Melbourne in 2015, relegating Cory Crawford and American PGA TOUR winner Bryson DeChambeau into second and third places respectively.
Smyth plays fairly regularly with defending champion Jordan Zunic when both are at home in Wollongong and with his game obviously in great shape, he has eyes on the European Tour Qualifying School later in the year.
Emulating his mate from the ‘Gong with a win at Palmerston would be a tremendous feather in the cap as he moves towards a place alongside ‘the next wave’ of Australian talent forging their careers in the professional ranks, players like Luck, Cameron Smith, Brett Coletta and Ryan Ruffels.
"In between first and second stage (in Europe) we have the Asia-Pacific Amateur that everyone knows you get a start in the Masters (if you win).” Smyth said.
"So 'plan A' was to go well this week (in L.A.) or win the Asian Am. I guess we'll just see where we are in October, November."