After the stress of the Masters, Queenslander Cameron Smith says feeling mentally free led to his PGA Tour career-best round at the RBC Heritage.
Smith shot a brilliant nine-under-par 62 in Thursday's opening round at the Harbour Town Golf Links to lead by one shot from American veteran Stewart Cink.
The 27-year-old, who tied for 10th at last week's Masters, recorded his lowest competitive round on the PGA Tour with five birdies on the front nine and four more on the back nine.
Two-time tour winner Smith says after coping with the difficulties of Augusta National at the Masters, the South Carolina course is a more comfortable prospect.
"Augusta ... was very stressful," Smith said. "You're almost worried about every shot out there, it seems like.
"After last week, I feel like chipping around here is almost like a breeze.
"I was so scared almost last week on every chip shot, and I feel like I can be really aggressive around here.
"After last week, I feel like chipping around here is almost a breeze. I was so scared almost last week on every chip shot, and I feel like I can be really aggressive around here." – Cameron Smith
"I just feel really comfortable. Mentally, I feel very free out there.
"I feel like I can hit the shot that I need to hit and ... putting 100 percent into it. And on a day like today, it's really rewarding.
"I hit lots of irons close and when I missed one, I missed it in the right spots."
Smith, a two-time PGA Tour winner, said "everything just came together" in his bogey-free round.
"It was a great day on the greens. I was hitting my irons really good, I had lots of good looks and I just took advantage of them," he said.
"The course is perfect, you really can't fault it.
"The ball is running out a long way so if you're on the fairway, you've got a lot of opportunities into the green."
Cink carded seven birdies and an eagle but also logged a bogey in his best round at Harbour Town.
Englishman Matt Wallace and Collin Morikawa share third spot after both shot 66.
The only other Australian in the field, Cameron Davis, posted a 69.
- Steve Larkin, Reuters