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Memorial Tournament 2022: Cameron Smith Takes Outright Lead with 2nd-Round 69

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2022

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MARCH 14: Cam Smith of Australia acknowledges the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 14, 2022, in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

The Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, has been a house of horrors for Cameron Smith throughout his career.

Maybe not anymore.

The Australian leads the field at eight under through two rounds of the 2022 edition after posting a three-under 69 on Friday. It is a far cry from his six previous Memorial tournaments when he missed the cut four times and finished no better than 68th place.

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard halfway through the tournament. The full leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com.

1. Cameron Smith, -8

T2. Denny McCarthy, -7

T2. K.H. Lee, -7

Smith was steady if not spectacular with a single bogey and four birdies, three of which came on the par fives. Taking advantage of the par fives while ensuring he doesn't drop shots elsewhere could be a blueprint to a title and dramatic way to break free of his Dublin, Ohio, struggles.

The 28-year-old also added some style on his other birdie with a chip-in on the par-three 12th.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Filthy chip by Cam Smith ๐Ÿคฏ<br><br>New solo leader at 8-under. <a href="https://t.co/WFDaLaeED0">pic.twitter.com/WFDaLaeED0</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Big par save ๐Ÿ’ช<br><br>Cam Smith still holds a one-shot lead. <a href="https://t.co/Fihp56SFRd">pic.twitter.com/Fihp56SFRd</a>

He will have his work cut out for him over the weekend when it comes to maintaining his position, though, as 11 golfers are within three strokes of the lead.

While Denny McCarthy and K.H. Lee are just one back in a tie for second, Rory McIlroy looks to be a threat to win the Memorial Tournament for the first time in his career. He counts four top-10 finishes at Jack Nicklaus' course on his resume and could be well on his way to another after Friday's three-under 69.

He bogeyed his first par five on No. 11 but made up for that with a birdie on the par-five 15th and eagle on the par-five fifth thanks to a beautiful approach shot on his second that found the green.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

271 โžก๏ธ 6 FT ๐Ÿคฏ<br><br>Eagle for <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> to get to 6-under. <a href="https://t.co/0Py4s9gUs4">pic.twitter.com/0Py4s9gUs4</a>

McIlroy's length off the tee helped with the course that was recently renovated with added yardage for the annual tournament, and he figures to remain near the top of the leaderboard if he can capitalize on the par fives like he did at times Friday.

There are plenty of big names lurking heading into the weekend outside of McIlroy.

Will Zalatoris and Patrick Cantlay are three under, and Jon Rahm is two under after shooting a two-under 70 in the second round. Jordan Spieth is also within relative striking distance at even par, but he struggled off the tee for much of Friday's round and scrambled his way to a two-over 74.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Incredible read on this putt ๐Ÿ˜ฒ<a href="https://twitter.com/patrick_cantlay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Patrick_Cantlay</a> moving up the leaderboard. <a href="https://t.co/JT8K8Oo8tL">pic.twitter.com/JT8K8Oo8tL</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Dialed in to start the day <a href="https://twitter.com/XSchauffele?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@XSchauffele</a> ๐ŸŽฏ <a href="https://t.co/1C1Dy9TE5M">pic.twitter.com/1C1Dy9TE5M</a>

Cantlay is the defending champion after he defeated Collin Morikawa in a playoff last year, although it seemed for much of the 2021 tournament that Rahm would take home the title. Yet he was forced to withdraw with a six-stroke lead heading into the final round after he was informed he tested positive for COVID-19.

There will be no repeat of the playoff, though, as Morikawa missed the cut thanks to a five-over 77 that included double bogeys on two of the par threes.