SARAH-JANE Smith banked the best LPGA season of her career in 2016, making 24 of 28 cuts to finish 52nd on the 2016 Race to the CME Globe.
It was a promising display from the 32-year-old who began the year without full LPGA playing rights and Smith would have finished much higher on the money list if it weren't for too many strong starts to tournaments resulting in finishes outside the top 40.
But Smith showed plenty of grit towards the end of the season.
Needing a strong showing at November’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational to qualify for the limited field at the season-ending Tour Championship, the Queenslander finished in a five-way tie for 2nd to bank more than US$65,000 - almost double her next biggest cheque for the year.
With a full LPGA card guaranteed for 2017, Smith will start the new season without the kind of pressure she was under in early 2016 to take advantage of limited starts.
WALK THE COURSE WITH LAURA DAVIES:
The key for her now will be to turn her strong Thursday and Friday play into bold showings on the weekend.
From 178 career starts on the LPGA Tour, Smith has just six top 10's and no victories.
But her runner-up effort at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational indicates she is now more comfortable coming down the stretch.