It was a victorious debut for the latest line of Bob Vokey wedges. Cameron Smith had four of the new SM9 clubs in the bag for his record-setting win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Smith didn’t get his hands on his new SM9s until Monday morning, when he found them sitting in his locker at Kapalua.
He carried both his SM8s and SM9s during his practice rounds at Kapalua, but stepped to the tee Thursday morning with four new SM9s in the bag -- the 46.10F, 52.08F, 56.08M and 60.10S.
Cameron Smith, statements
“Cam is super talented with his wedges and has just has this natural ability of being shallow when he needs to be shallow, to flatten out things and make good, clean contact,” said Vokey tour rep Aaron Dill.
“With the 56, he uses an M grind and he’s really good with it. He uses it all around the greens. He especially uses it a lot in Hawaii because of grain. That grainy Bermuda is some of the most treacherous chipping conditions I think we see throughout the season and he just understands the value of how to use a wedge in the right way, especially the sand wedge”.
Dill also noted that Smith brings two lob wedges to each tournament -- – a 60.10S and a 60 T Grind – and picks one based on the turf conditions. On weeks with grainy Bermudagrass, like in Hawaii, he relies on more bounce in his lob wedge.
Smith has now won the TOUR’s two Hawaii stops, adding the victory at Kapalua to his win in the 2020 Sony Open in Hawii. Smith shot a TOUR-record 34 under par to win the Sentry by one shot over World No. 1 Jon Rahm. With the win, Smith moved to third in the FedExCup and 10th in the world ranking.
In their first week on TOUR, the new SM9s were the most-used wedge at Kapalua. There were 35 SM9 pitching, gap, sand and lob wedges in play, 15 more than the nearest competitor (20). Fourteen players – including Smith, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa – made the immediate switch to SM9 models.
Smith, Spieth, Thomas and Homa all switched to four new models (including pitching wedges). Both Spieth and Thomas said they appreciated the SM9’s ability to help them hit low, controlled shots with their wedge. “I like to really hit my wedges with lower trajectory,” said Spieth, who finished T21 at Kapalua.
“I feel like I can control my distances a lot better when I do that, so the idea that when I’m hitting three-quarter shots with those clubs … (the SM9s) seem to be really, really consistently coming off with that nice low ball flight.
So it was a pretty easy decision for me”. Said Thomas, who finished T5, “When I was testing SM9, it was nice to see the low controlled flight. For me, for someone who likes to flight my wedges and control my spin a lot, I need to be able to see that ball hit the windows.
And I’m looking both low and high, but especially low. Because for me, it’s nice to be able to feel like I hit it and I don't look up and it’s coming high and floaty. It’s hitting the flight that I want, the spin that I want and reacting how I want”.