Cam Smith has begun his LIV Golf career in style, finishing tied for third at six-under on the first day of LIV Golf Boston.
The Australian made his bow, teeing off outside of Boston in his first tournament since his $100million defection to the Saudi-backed series.
At the end of day one, Smith was in a two-way tie for third alongside Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, shooting a 64.
Matthew Wolff and Talor Gooch lead all comers with a score of seven-under, 63.
Smith finished his day tremendously with an incredible 45-foot putt, earning his second eagle of the round — on a par-five, no less.
The current world No. 2 broke a wedge with a stupendous shot from behind a tree that allowed him to somehow save par on 16.
He received a raucous ovation following his final shot on 18, which indubitably contravenes much of the public reaction since Smith left the PGA Tour.
Cameron Smith made a superb start to life with LIV Golf with a six-under, 64 in Massachusetts
The British Open champion is the most high-profile new recruit in Massachusetts this week, making his debut as the team captain of Punch GC at The International.
Smith was seen arriving at the course in a luxurious supercar, before heading to the range ahead of the first round of the Boston Invitational.
He played alongside fellow Australians Marc Leishman, Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones. Smith’s first tee shot of the tournament confirmed his suspension from the PGA Tour – and therefore his ineligibility to play in the upcoming Presidents Cup.
The decision to not allow him to play in the USA vs International tournament is something which has irked Smith, but it did not show on Friday, with the Aussie all smiles as he began life on the new tour.
LIV’s newest recruit Smith arrived at The International in Boston in his Lamborghini supercar
The Australian has signed a $100million to leave the PGA Tour and join the Saudi-backed series
Smith walks into the locker room before making his LIV Golf debut in Boston on Friday
Speaking earlier in the week, the 29-year-old Brisbane native had spoken of his disappointment at the lack of rankings points available to LIV golfers.
‘It’s really a shame that we are not getting world ranking points out here,’ Smith said Wednesday ahead of his LIV debut.
‘To have 48 of the best guys around the world playing, and not to get world ranking points, is perhaps a little bit unfair.
‘It’s still super competitive out here. I just really think it’s a little bit unfair.’
While LIV Golf has lured players away from the PGA Tour with staggering sums of money, the financial windfall could come at a cost for those still looking to compete in the Masters, PGA Championship, US Open and British Open.
LIV Golf’s application to the Official World Golf Ranking board — which consists of representatives from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, USGA, R&A, PGA of America and Augusta National — is currently under review.
Smith watches on during the tournament, in which he played alongside three fellow Aussies
The 29-year-old won the British Open at St Andrews in July, but has since left the PGA Tour
‘I hope that these world ranking points will sort themselves out before my exemption is up,’ Smith said.
‘To the fans of major championship golf, it may be a little bit unfair on them.
‘I think majors is about having the best guys in the best field on the best golf courses. Hopefully we can sort that out.’
Smith, meanwhile, has also been bullish when fielding questions about his mega-money defection to the LIV Series, insisting it is the future of the sport, before declaring that the PGA Tour needs to be ‘stirred up’.
Smith – team captain of Punch GC – signs autographs to be given out to fans ahead of his round
Greg Norman has become a destabilizing force to traditional golf as the CEO of LIV Golf
The world No. 2 said: ‘This is a new kind of chapter in my life. I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here.
‘I think it [the sport] needs to change, particularly as our golf fans become younger. I think we need to do something to make it exciting for them… it’s been the same for a very, very long time and it needs to be stirred up a little bit.’
Despite receiving heavy criticism from fans, the Aussie admits being paid $100million was ‘a factor’ in the business decision he made to defect – but not the only reason.
On Friday, Smith started well in Boston, as he looked to make his mark in his new surroundings.