PGA Tour: Smith’s helping hand for Queensland teens
TEEN talent Louis Dobbelaar will hit the Isuzu Queensland Open on Thursday with everything he learned from a head-spinning week inside the PGA Tour life of Cameron Smith in Florida.
Dobbelaar, 17, and amateur buddy Jed Morgan, 18, are still pinching themselves after Smith's generosity in paying their way for an experience of a lifetime in the US earlier this month.
It was far more than taking care of the airfares, because Smith opened the doors of his Florida home for them to stay between playing four rounds with the pair and offering invaluable advice at every turn.
The world No.31 had always wanted to do something like this for the winners of the Cameron Smith Scholarship, living the mantra of Golf Australia's "Give Back" program.
"It was incredible for Cam to let us into his world and it was impossible not to pick up tips and just enjoy every minute," said Dobbelaar, the Queensland amateur champion.
"You hear about how good his short game is but you don't realise how unbelievable until you see him making ridiculous up-and-downs from side-hills lies, from the rough with high flop shots and again and again.
"Jed and I both thought our short games were not too bad but we now realise how much more we have to strive for to get to a different level.
"We trained, practised at TPC Sawgrass and played with Cam for a week and he's still the same guy on the inside who came up through Queensland junior golf like Jed and I are now."
Dobbelaar will tee it up in his third Queensland Open this week at Brisbane Golf Club, where Morgan too will try to challenge the pros.
The young amateur pair enjoyed an extra treat when Smith said they'd be playing four rounds together in Florida and he'd give them a 10-shot head start to keep "the event" on three courses competitive.
"Cam shot nine-under for a 62 the first day so the head start was down to nothing straight away and he beat us both by 15 shots," Dobbelaar said.
"I think Jed and I thought for a minute that it might be an even playing field with the start but that's when you see how good, how aggressive and the different level of a PGA Tour golfer."
Dobbelaar said the experience had charged his outlook to keep working on every area of his game and also to consider the next generation of golfers if he ever got into a similar position to Smith.
"Cam genuinely feels like helping the next wave of young Aussie golfers and that shows the guy he is," Dobbelaar said.
Smith will headline the Australian summer of golf at the Australian Open at The Lakes (November 15-18) in Sydney and the World Cup at Metropolitan (November 21-25) in Melbourne with Marc Leishman, before defending the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast from November 29.
Sunshine Coast's Shae Wools-Cobb, Redcliffe's Doug Klein and Gold Coast-based Dylan Perry have all turned pro in time for the Queensland Open on a course they all know well.
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