AUGUSTA, Ga., Nov 15 (Reuters) - Cameron Smith became the first player to shoot four rounds in the 60s at the Masters, but he was still green with envy that it was not enough to win at Augusta National on Sunday.
While last year’s champion Tiger Woods presented Dustin Johnson with a famous Green Jacket, Smith instead wondered what might have been after falling short in his quest to become the second Australian to win the Masters after Adam Scott (2013).
Smith shot 67 68 69 69 for 15-under-par 273 and tied for second with South Korean Im Sung-jae (69), five strokes behind Johnson, though for more than half the round it was much tighter than the final margin might suggest.
Four shots back starting the day, Smith was only two shots back at the turn, while Im even drew within one after Johnson had bogeyed the fourth and fifth holes.
“I thought I’d have a decent shot if I got to Dustin’s original score at the start of the day, 16-under,” Smith said.
“I knew I had to put the pressure on early. Got out of the gates pretty good and D.J. was just too good at the end.”
Smith, who shares his name with a famous rugby league player in Australia, felt buoyed by the support he could almost feel from half a world away in his homeland, where golf fans tuned in for what has become a Monday morning tradition.
“I’m sure my old man would have cracked (a beer) if I had got the win today,” he said, thanking his followers for their support.
“I’ve got all your messages this week on social media, and it means a lot. You kept me in it, but sorry I couldn’t get it done.”
Im, meanwhile, in his Masters debut also had a country cheering him on from the other side of the Pacific as he sought to become the first Korean to wear green.
An ironman who plays nearly every week, he has a rock-solid game without any discernible flaws.
“I’ll be honest with you, my goal was to make the cut and make the weekend. Finishing tied for second is unbelievable, and I’m proud of my game.”
He then honoured the champion.
“Dustin definitely plays at another level,” Im said.
Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Stephen Coates
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.