Australian golfer Travis Smyth is on a mission this week at the Asian Tour’s International Series England after narrowly missing out during the inaugural event in 2022.

The fifth event of The International Series 2023 schedule at Close House, outside Newcastle, will mark the 28-year-old’s second appearance in England this year after making his major debut in The Open in July.

Excited to be back in the UK, Smyth said: “I’ve had some time off since The Open so I’m buzzing to be here and buzzing to play. I haven’t competed in too many tournaments over the last three months, so I can’t wait.”

Now at a crucial point in the season, Smyth is battling it out for the top spot on the International Series Order of Merit to earn an automatic berth in the lucrative LIV Golf League for 2024.

“I view them [International Series events] as majors because of what they can potentially achieve. It changed my life, financially, freed me up and I’ve been able to play good golf ever since,” Smyth said. “It is an amazing pathway that appeared out of nowhere.”

Acknowledging the investment made by LIV Golf, he added: “LIV’s involvement in the game has been transformative. I’m thrilled to be part of this transitional phase with the game of golf and the Asian Tour.”

The Sydney native made history with his appearance at The 151st Open — hitting the first ever hole-in-one on the new par-3 17th hole at Royal Liverpool.

Recalling his unforgettable ace, he reflected on the special moment: “I’ve never had so much applause over a single golf shot in my life. Once you get a taste of that, it’s intoxicating. I’ll be working harder than ever to get back.”

Smyth, who lost out by a stroke to Kieran Vincent at Slaley Hall on the last International Series visit to England, will be joined by Ryder Cup legends Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, and many more renowned golfers with representatives from 11 of the LIV Golf League’s 12 teams featuring in the event.

Referring to the household names teeing it up on Tyneside, Smyth concluded: “I guess now I’m of age, and playing good enough golf and it just so happens that they’re playing Asian Tour events now. It’s just wild getting to meet them, seeing them around the clubhouse and having them call me by my first name. Yeah, it’s cool.”