Smith still in driver's seat at Tournament of Champions

Australia's Cameron Smith of Australia plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. — AFP
Australia's Cameron Smith of Australia plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. — AFP

Smith’s 17-under 129 matches the 36-hole record set by South Africa’s Ernie Els in 2003



By Reuters

Published: Sat 8 Jan 2022, 11:25 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Jan 2022, 11:27 PM

Cameron Smith of Australia birdied his final four holes Friday to reaffirm his grip on the lead at the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Smith carded a 9-under 64 after opening with a 65 Thursday at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. His one-shot lead after one round grew to a three-stroke advantage over world No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain and Daniel Berger.

Smith’s 17-under 129 matches the 36-hole record set by South Africa’s Ernie Els in 2003.

It didn’t look like Smith’s day early on. He bogeyed the first two holes and slipped down the leaderboard while other players were shooting low. At the par-5 fifth hole, he chipped in for eagle from just off the green — his second straight day eagling the hole — to get his round on track.

Smith said he didn’t feel comfortable at the driving range while warming up before the round, but he kept his head down.

“There’s no point bashing clubs around and doing all that stuff,” Smith said. “It was definitely frustrating, but kept the head on, and I knew there was plenty of birdies out there seeing everyone go low.”

He finished the day with nine birdies, six of them coming on a bogey-free back nine.

Rahm posted his second bogey-free 66 in a row to move into a tie for second at 14 under. If Rahm finishes the tournament in first or second place, he will fend off Collin Morikawa and maintain his No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for another week.

Berger matched Rahm’s 66, eagling the par-5 15th hole while maintaining a clean card. He was paired in a group with Smith for the first two rounds.

“Cameron had a tough start and then he pulled it together on the end of the back nine,” Berger said. “It’s always easy to play with someone when they’re making a ton of birdies and you’re seeing balls go in the hole, and he made every putt he looked at today and I think he’s going to be a tough guy to beat this weekend, but it’s not impossible.”


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