DUBLIN, Ohio — Cameron Smith believes he’s enjoying the most efficient golfing of his lifestyles, and it displays. He is within the lead at Memorial, a event the place the Australian does not have a really perfect historical past.
Smith elicited probably the most loudest cheers of a wonderful afternoon Friday at Muirfield Village — some other anomaly for this weather-plagued event — when he holed out with a downhill chip from past the golf green at the par-3 twelfth that carried him to a 3-under 69.
He saved his one-shot lead over Denny McCarthy and Ok.H. Lee the remainder of the day via doing what Smith does very best. He holed a 15-foot putt for par at the subsequent hollow and two times made 6-foot par putts for bunker saves down the stretch.
“I think I’m just happy with the way I stuck in there,” Smith stated. “Really happy with where my short game’s at. I feel like I’m rolling the ball really good. Just need to sort out that longer stuff.”
As for his historical past on the Memorial?
In six earlier look, Smith handiest made the minimize two times and each occasions and completed outdoor the highest 60. His very best spherical was once a 71.
But it is a new Smith, the winner of The Players Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the No. 3 participant on this planet rating.
So his rounds of 67-69 to succeed in 8-under 136 and be within the lead going into the weekend is hardly ever a wonder, even at Muirfield Village.
“I think my game’s in a good spot. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be,” he stated. “I’m playing some of the best golf of my life, and I feel I’m getting more consistent with the longer stuff. So just looking forward to everything coming up.”
Billy Horschel putted for birdie on each hollow and made 4 of them for a 68 that left him within the workforce two pictures at the back of with Torrey Pines winner Luke List, PGA Tour inexperienced persons Cameron Young and Davis Riley, and Jhonattan Vegas.
Rory McIlroy had a 69 and was once 3 pictures at the back of. Defending champion Patrick Cantlay closed with two giant par putts for a 69 and was once at 3-under 141.
The minimize was once at 2-over 146. Among the ones lacking out at the weekend have been Bryson DeChambeau and Harris English, each coming back from accidents. DeChambeau (hand surgical treatment) had now not performed because the Masters. English (hip surgical treatment) had now not performed because the Sony Open in January.
Also lacking the minimize have been Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones, Jed Morgan of Australia and U.S. Amateur champion James Piot, giving them two further days to pack for London and the primary Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational subsequent week that places PGA Tour club in danger, no less than for Swafford and Jones.
McCarthy’s title was once discussed prominently even ahead of the Memorial started, after which he lived as much as the reward. He took handiest 25 putts Friday — he handiest had 24 putts the day ahead of — for a 3-under 69 that put him one shot at the back of.
For those that do not pore over the litany of statistics to be had at the PGA Tour, it was once somewhat unexpected when McIlroy was once requested previous within the week whom he thought to be the simpler putters in these days’s recreation. He discussed Jordan Spieth. Everyone is aware of him. He was once inspired with Sam Burns, a three-time winner during the last 8 months.
And he discussed McCarthy.
Told of McIlroy’s feedback previous within the week, McCarthy smiled and stated, “I would like to drive it like Rory.”
“Everyone has the best part of their game. Obviously, putting is part of mine,” stated McCarthy, who’s No. 5 in the important thing placing statistic for the season. “Driving the ball is the best part of his game. I’m no slouch around the course, like putting is not the only thing I do well. Everyone brings up my putter; yes, I’m a good putter. But I need to do good things to get to those putts.”
McIlroy, in the meantime, has been choosing up somewhat momentum since his final 64 on the Masters for a runner-up end. He completed 4 pictures at the back of on the Wells Fargo Championship and 3 pictures out of a playoff on the PGA Championship.
McIlroy surged into the combination on the Memorial with a fairway steel that was once prime and true and right into a freshening breeze to six toes for eagle at the par-5 5th towards the top of his spherical. His momentum was once slowed via a bogey from the bunker at the par-3 8th, however his 69 left him in affordable form going into the weekend.
Jon Rahm overcame a shank on the second one hollow — he made birdie at the subsequent one — to scratch out a 70 with out his very best iron recreation. He was once at 2-under 142, six pictures at the back of. Rahm gained in 2020. He was once six pictures forward after 3 rounds ultimate yr till his certain COVID-19 take a look at knocked him out of the general spherical.
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