Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic

Published 5:00pm 1 June 2022

Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic
Words by Nick Crockford

The Cameron Smith Junior Classic (CSJC) is going to "another level” this year at Wantima Country Club in Brendale.

Now in its sixth year, organisers of the CSJC are expanding it from a one-day 18-hole event, into a two-day 36-hole competition.

This year’s tournament will be on Thursday December 8 and Friday December 9 and has, for the first time, been selected as a Golf Australia State Order of Merit event.

It is named after Cameron Smith, pictured above, who grew up in Bray Park, learned to play golf at Wantima and is now on the US PGA Tour and ranked third in the world.

Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic
Cameron Smith, centre back row, on his last visit to Wantima in 2019 with the CSJC winners.

'It's a big step'

“I am very passionate about this tournament, the opportunities it has offered young players over the last five years and those it will provide in the future,” Smith said.

Ken McKay, the former junior co-ordinator at Wantima who devised and organises the CSJC, said expanding the Classic was a “mind-blowing” boost for the event.

“We had some discussions about where we wanted to take the tournament when Cameron was last in town a couple of years ago,” he said.

“This takes it to another level. It’s a big step … and to say I’m chuffed is an understatement!”

Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic
Ken McKay, who founded the Cameron Smith Junior Classic at Wantima.

Masters qualifier

The 2022 CSJC, for those aged 18 and under, will have a shot gun start on the first day and single tee start on day two.

There will also be a nine-hole tournament for those without an 18-hole handicap to involve as many young players as possible during the two days.

The CSJC will again, be the first qualifier for the next Greg Norman Junior Masters, an invitational Australian junior ranking event.

Entries for the Cameron Smith Junior Classic likely to open in September, Ken McKay said.

Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic
Haruhi Nakatani who won the Cameron Smith Junior Classic overall girls' title last year

Memorial challenge

Cameron Smith, based in the US but still a member at Wantima, is currently preparing for The Memorial Tournament (June 2-5), which was founded by Jack Nicklaus, at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

Then he will be teeing up at the third of this year’s majors, the US Open at The Country Club in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, on June 16-19.

The 28-year-old former Pine Rivers State High School student is in the middle of his most successful season on the US PGA Tour, which he joined nine years ago.

He has already won The Players’ Championship (described as the fifth major) and Sentry Tournament of Champions this year, as well as tying for third place at The Masters.

Major expansion plans for Cameron Smith Classic
Manato Nakatani with his trophy for winning the boys' overall title in 2021

Cameron Smith Junior Classic winners:

2017: Boys’ champion Tyler Duncan; Girls’ champion Lion Higo

2018: Boys’ champion Mitchell Hennessy; Girls’ champion Chloe Nam

2019: Boys’ champion Andrew Park; Girls’ champion Haruhi Nakatani

2020: Boys’ champion Harry Takis; Girls’ champion Justice Bosio

2021: Boys’ champion Manato Nakatani; Girls’ champion Haruhi Nakatani


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