High hopes for 2016 after swing change
SUNSHINE COAST golfer Sarah Jane Smith tumbled down the world rankings last year but a recent change to her swing has her excited about 2016.
The 31-year-old, who boasts five top-10 results on the US LPGA Tour, slumped from 138th to 201st in the standings last season.
A string of missed cuts plagued her campaign.
"It was a bit weird," she said. "It sort of felt like I was playing a lot better than the results I was getting.
"(But) it wasn't a great season."
Smith missed the cut five times in her first seven outings.
But some tweaks to her swing helped her make four of six cuts to end the season.
A 16th place at the $2million Miejer LPGA Classic in Michigan proved she has what it takes to be a force on the big stage.
"Slowing my rhythm has made it easier," she said.
"Since we've been working on that, I've gotten a couple good results. It's made me less sporadic and made those good weeks more consistent."
Smith finished the year with a solid showing for the ALPG of Australia at the Queens in Japan.
"That gives me confidence heading into 2016," she said.
Smith turned professional in 2004, after sge was the leading amateur at the Australian Open.
She has since plied her trade mainly in the lucrative US golf scene, with husband Duane a constant by her side.
He was an accomplished player in his own right but now caddies.
"Some people love each other to death but can't make it work (but) we've been doing it (golf together) full time for 10 years," she said.
"I'd be lying if I said it was always smooth (but) we're both pretty relaxed, which helps us on the golf course."
Smith is the fourth-highest ranked Australian, leading up to the Olympics. Australia is likely to have two competitors at the Games. Minjee Lee is top-ranked Australian at 18th.