Cameron Smith hit his drive right on the 18th, and he began to lean left, hoping his mind and body from about 300 yards away could somehow steer his ball to safety. A couple seconds later, it kicked out of trouble and eventually settled near the middle of the fairway. “He definitely got away with one,” analyst Curt Byrum said on the Golf Channel broadcast. On Friday, everything the Australian did, hitting the ball, putting it and using the force on it, worked. Here are three things you need to know after the second round of the Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii.
Cameron Smith leads by three
Not everything went, dropped or moved Smith’s way. On Thursday, he hit into a greenside bunker on the par-4 1st and scrambled to make par, and on the par-3 2nd, he hit over the green with his tee shot and bogeyed. On Friday, he hit into a greenside bunker again on 1 and bogeyed, and on 2, he three-putted and bogeyed again.
But drop those, and he’s played to a 20-under total. In all, he shot a nine-under 64 on Friday, and he’s at 17-under, which is three shots ahead of world No. 1 Jon Rahm and Daniel Berger.
“Yeah, a few bad shots there the first couple of holes,” Smith said. “I didn’t really feel that comfortable on the range this morning. Yeah, and it kind of showed those first couple. Yeah, figured it out by the 4th or 5th and was able to get on a bit of a roll with the putter as well.”
Jon Rahm and Daniel Berger are tied for second
Rahm was feet from making this even closer. On 1, he missed a birdie putt by 4 inches. On 2 and 4, 9 inches. On 8, 6 inches. On 10 and 13, 3 inches. Then, on 18, he missed an eagle bid by 9 inches. Still, he hit all 18 greens and all 15 fairways, shot a second-straight 66, and he and Berger are at 14-under.
“It was really good tee to green,” Rahm said. “If there’s anything to put an asterisk on, it’s maybe putting.”
“More than anything, the speed, right? I feel like the greens were a little bit slower today. Me and Patrick [Cantlay] talked about it a little bit. It could have just been us, but it felt like they were a little bit slower, and I just felt like I left a lot of putts out there on line that, with the right speed, might have had a chance of going in. But either way, still a solid round of golf.”
Patrick Cantlay is four back
Four back of the lead is Cantlay, and Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im are five behind Smith. At 11-under is Kevin Na.
Among other players, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele are at 10-under, Bryson DeChambeau is at 9-under, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland are at 8-under, and Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth are at 6-under.