Smylie following his Queensland Amateur Championship victory in 2019 – photo Bruce Young
Last week it was Gabriela Ruffels who entered the paid ranks of golf when she played the Gainbridge LPGA event in Florida and this week sees the opening event in what promises to be a significant professional career for yet another young Australian when Elvis Smylie tees it up in one of the PGA Tour of Australasia’s ‘Players Series’ events at the Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney.
18-year-old Smylie, who has already accumulated several impressive finishes in professional events, turned professional last week but eighteen months ago made the cut as a 17-year-old amateur at the Australian Open, actually contending at various stages over the weekend before finishing 33rd at the Australian Golf Club.
Perhaps the catalyst for the timing of the decision, however, came after his stunning performance at one of the early Player Series events where he pushed experienced and credentialed professional Brad Kennedy to the limit before finishing runner-up to his fellow Queenslander.
Smylie reeled off consecutive weekend rounds of 63 at the Rosebud Country Club on the Mornington Peninsula to force Kennedy into recording a final round of 62 to hold him out.
The winner of events such as the Australian Junior Championship, the Keperra Bowl and the Queensland Amateur Championship during his amateur days, Smylie has a great pedigree to hold him in good stead in these all-important early stages of his professional career.
His mother Liz was a four-time Grand Slam Tennis Champion in Doubles events and later an accomplished tennis commentator and his father Peter was also a tournament tennis player who became involved in player management.
That sort of knowledge and support is a tremendous resource to access, but Elvis Smylie has shown a capacity to be very self sufficient in his approach to the game, possessing an outstanding work ethic in addition to his significant playing skills and mindset.
At a time when the Korda sisters (Nelly and Jessica) and the brother and sister pair of Gabi and Ryan Ruffels have been the product of significant tennis parentage and are now playing professional golf, yet another is about to take his game to the world.
The tall left-hander with the catchy and appealing name, looks sure to endear himself to the Australian golfing public in the years ahead and although 18 is young to enter the topsy-turvy world of professional golf, there has already been plenty of evidence to suggest when it comes to Elvis Smylie it is a case of ‘if you are good enough you are old enough’.
Gabi Ruffels – photo USGA