Sentry Tournament of Champions Halfway Hut: Cameron Smith pulls clear in Hawaii

News, stats, quotes and social after 36 holes in Maui where the Australian holds a three-shot lead after two rounds.

When first-round leader Cameron Smith opened his second lap of The Plantation Course with a pair of bogeys on Friday, it looked as if he could disappear back into the pack.

When the Aussie stroked in a short putt for birdie at 18, his total of 129 had equalled the Sentry Tournament of Champions' 36-hole record.

Some turnaround!

That tally of 17-under (65-64) put him three shots clear at the midpoint and in golden position to start 2022 with a win.

Click here for full leaderboard

Smith rebounded from his stuttering start with an eagle at 5 and birdies at 6, 7 and 9 to turn in 3-under 33.

On the back nine he picked up further shots at 10 and 12 before producing a flying finish: Smith birdied 15, 16, 17 and 18 to complete a 9-under 64 and give himself daylight.

He'll need to keep his foot pressed to the gas though as some big names are circling.

World No.1 Jon Rahm is tied for second place on 14-under with Daniel Berger, both shooting 7-under 66s on day two.

FedEx champion Patrick Cantlay and Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama are also in the top five.

The American is four back on 13-under while Augusta hero Matsuyama jumped eight spots to tied fifth alongside Sungjae Im after an excellent 8-under 65.

United States players have won the last 10 editions of this event but the current leaderboard shows four international players in the top six.

Stats

This is Smith's second lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour. In the other, he eventually finished runner-up in the 2020 Masters.

Smith ranks 1st for Strokes Gained Putting (4.080) and 4th SG: Tee To Green (4.341). He's also 1st for Eagles (3) and T1st for Birdies (14).

Rahm is bogey free after 36 holes. He's 1st for SG: Off The Tee (2.991), 3rd Tee To Green (4.827) and 15th for SG: Putting (0.594).

Berger is 1st for SG: Tee To Green (5.989) but just 24th in the 38-man field for SG: Putting (-0.568).

The second-round scoring average of 67.816 was the lowest at The Plantation Course since the tournament moved there in 1999. Preferred lies were in effect on Friday which contributed to that.

Quotes

Cameron Smith (-17, 64)

"A few bad shots there the first couple of holes. 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.

"The course is still kind of receptive. It was nice to see a little bit of run in the fairways again today.

"But, yeah, there's going to be low scores. There always is around here. Just got to prepare for that the best I can and hopefully have a good weekend."

Jon Rahm (-14, 66)

(On what went well) "Pretty much everything. Can't say much. It was really good tee to green. 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. 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."

Daniel Berger (-14, 66)

"Played well today and hit some great golf shots. Just have to make a few more putts. Whenever you're 14-under par through two rounds you've done something right, so I'm in a good position going into the weekend.

"I'm playing well. It's just a matter of continuing to do the same things, hitting fairways, greens and making a few putts here and there and taking advantage of the par-5s. I think I did that pretty well today and yesterday and just have to continue the same mindset of trying to go low."

Patrick Cantlay (-13, 67)

"I played great today and got absolutely nothing out of it. I don't think I made a putt outside maybe 4 or 5 feet. That just means my game's in a good spot and I'm well positioned for a good weekend.

"Yesterday I putted well and hit a little iffy, at least for nine holes, and then today I hit it really well all day. So if I can match the two together I should be all right."

Hideki Matsuyama (12, 65)

"Not one thing is like great but short irons have been great so that's why I think the scores have been okay.

"I haven't been practising much so I didn't really have high expectations but hopefully I can play well on the weekend. If I can hit some good drives and make some putts I think I'll be okay."

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READ MORE: R1 report - Cameron Smith leads at Sentry Tournament of Champions

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