Cameron Smith has placed Masters behind him at RBC Heritage

Cameron Smith has placed Masters behind him at RBC Heritage ...

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) Cameron Smith has put his bad run at the 12th hole in the final round of the Masters last week behind him and is ready to continue a great season at the RBC Heritage.

Smith had been in contention most of the way at Augusta National on Sunday and was in the final group alongside winner Scottie Scheffler. But he put his tee-shot in front of the par-3, which resulted in a triple-bogey six that had lowered any chance of getting caught Scheffler.

After a couple of days of rest and no golf Smith is preparing to resume work this week at Harbour Town Golf Links.

I don't believe I was down in the dumps, he said Wednesday. I was just overwhelmed. I felt like I was one really good swing away from really competing, and that's just how golf is.

Smith leads the way for the Masters by five shots. It was a good showing in a season filled with victories for Smith, who has won the Tournament of Champions last January and The Players Championship this month.

He is up to fifth in the world rankings and believes he can climb higher as long as he stays true to his process. It has worked for him at Harbour Town in recent years, including a opening-round 62 before he became ninth.

I believe that if you had asked me for the first time at the time of the year that I would have come here, I'd be very surprised, Smith said. But in the last couple of months, I've felt really comfortable with my game, and I feel like I'm playing the best golf of my life.

KEEP PUSHING

This week, several Masters contenders will not compete due to the physical and mental effects of playing Augusta National. Not this week.

While green jacket winner Scottie Scheffler and runner-up Rory McIlroy are absent, the RBC Heritage is home to 14 of the next 21 golfers on last week's leaderboard, including Collin Morikawa, eighth-place Justin Thomas, and Dustin Johnson.

"It's really cool to see Scottie's performance over the past couple of months, but I want to be there as well," said Morikawa, a two-time major champion who won the British Open last summer.

Harbour Town's tight fairways and small greens are perfect for Morikawa's game. "So we're looking for that one little spark, and this is a course I've loved in the last couple years," he said.

ODDS ON

According to fanDuel Sportsbook, Morikawa and Thomas are the co-favorites to win the RBC Heritage at 13-1. Smith is on the way, with Patrick Cantlay at 16-1, and Johnson at 18-1.

KITCHEN CINK

Tiger Woods referred to Kitchen, a three-time RBC Heritage winner after Stewart Cink's ace at the 16th hole of the Masters.

Cink, Alabama's defending champion, explained that he partnered with Tim Kitchens during a couple of events and people were surprised by him.

Cink, 48, said that he did not start doing anything. I've been referred to as 'Kitchen' ever since I was young.

Cink, who also won in 2000 and 2004, led wire-to-wire as he sacked with six consecutive 63s on the way to a four-stroke victory.

CUP FOR THE PRESIDENT

Zach Johnson and Fred Couples will serve as assistant's to Love during the upcoming Ryder Cup matches at the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte in September.

Love asked what role might be used by former captain Tiger Woods, saying, "Any role he wants."

Like Love said after seeing Woods compete at the Masters for four rounds on Augusta National's hilly, demanding layout, that includes as an assistant captain, advisor, or a player.

I didn't think he would ever play again, and he proved us wrong. But then I didn't think he could walk 72 holes at Augusta, because that's one of our hardest walks, and then he proved us wrong again, Love said.

The Associated PressSports writer, Pete Iacobelli

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