SMITH, RIPPERS ‘FEELING GOOD’ GOING INTO LIV GOLF CHICAGO
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Captain Cameron Smith has won two of his last three LIV Golf starts and now leads the individual points race.
His Ripper GC finally broke through with its first team last month in Bedminster, and young Jediah Morgan posted the key final-round score.
Marc Leishman has top-10 finishes in two of his last three LIV starts.
And Matt Jones battled hard for a victory in his last start in Scotland at the International Series event in St Andrews Bay, eventually losing in an epic 10-hole playoff to fellow LIV Golf regular Eugenio Chacarra.
Yes, there’s a lot of favorable momentum for the all-Australian Rippers going into this week’s LIV Golf Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms.
“Obviously, Cam has been playing well all year,” Leishman said. “I’ve started playing a lot better. Jonesy and Jed are ready to fire up and have a big couple of weeks to finish the season. I think we’re feeling good.”
Smith should definitely feel good on the course, having won here last year in just his second LIV start. The course will play a little different this time around, with softer conditions thinks to the precipitation in the Chicago area the past few days.
But the Ripper captain will not be lacking for incentives. He could wrap up the season-long individual title if he wins this week and his closest pursuer, RangeGoats GC’s Talor Gooch, finishes fourth or worse.
“It's definitely in the back of the mind for sure,” Smith said. “It's hard not to really think about. Kind of wish this tournament had of come a little sooner. Five weeks off; it's hard to say the momentum is really still there.
“Yeah, it's good. It's obviously a course that I've played well on before. It's a course that I enjoy playing. You know, small, slopey greens. So, I'm looking forward to getting out there this week and giving it another crack for sure.”
Jones, meanwhile, gets another crack at ending his personal victory drought. His most recent pro victory came in March 2021, and he was close to returning to the winner’s circle in St Andrews. He had a couple of chances to end the match before Chacarra finally won.
What little disappointment he felt has been replaced by a big-picture viewpoint of his improved play.
“He’s fine,” Leishman said. “Obviously you win some and lose some. A 10-hole playoff doesn’t happen every day. He took all the positives out of that. I’m sure he’s feeling good and will have a really big finish in one of these events.”
Morgan has the most on the line this week. He’s currently 46th in individual points and faces relegation after this season if he doesn’t finish 44th or better. This week’s tournament in Chicago and next month’s regular-season finale in Jeddah are his last two events to acquire points.
“He had the lowest round on Sunday there in Bedminster. I'm sure that was a massive confidence boost for him,” Smith said. “The team is all behind him. We all know what he's capable of. He just needs to go out and let it go and actually do it.
“It's a tough spot to be in.”