Making his debut in the WGC series, World No.50 Smith was thrown into Japanese star and fifth seed Matsuyama's group, alongside Yusaku Miyazato and rising PGA Tour star Patrick Cantlay.

The format at the elite 64-man event sees the top points-scorers from 16 groups advance to the elimination rounds.

"Hideki is a world-class player and Patrick has won on the PGA Tour recently but it's match play. I can't worry about what my opponents have done in the past. I just have to try outplay them on each hole," Smith said.

"I'm definitely not intimidated by guys like Hideki and anything can happen in match play."

Smith says remaining inside the world's top 50 and securing a second career berth at the Augusta National major is his motivation at Austin Country Club.

Smith says he won’t be intimidated by the likes of Hideki Matsuyama (pictured) at this week’s WGC-Match Play event. PHOTO: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

The 24-year-old will need to at least equal the results of every player seeded below him this week to qualify for the Masters when the field is all but finalised on Monday.

"Getting to the Masters has been the goal this year because I've been hungry to get back every year since I first played," Smith said, having made his Augusta debut in 2016 where he finished tied 55th.

"It's the tournament we all want to compete for the most but I can't get caught up in what I need to do this week.

"I don't want to aim small. I feel I've got a chance to win the WGC-Match Play and that'd take care of everything."

The WGC-Match Play starts on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) and first up for Smith is Cantlay, who won the US Tour event in Las Vegas in November.

- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press