04 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Smith needs low round to catch runaway leader

by PGA of Australia

Cam Smith Ohio image
Cam Smith tees off at No. 3 during his round in Ohio today. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Queenslander Cameron Smith is hoping for some assistance from Jack Nicklaus’s famed Muirfield Village layout after American Billy Horschel opened up a five-stroke lead at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

Horschel’s seven-under 65 was the best on day three by two strokes and gives the Florida native a handy advantage at 13-under, five clear of Smith and American Aaron Wise (69) at eight-under par.

Leading by one at the start of Round 2, it was Smith’s short game scrambling that once again kept the world No.3 within reach, topped off with a spectacular flop shot from the fringe to save par at the par-4 18th. Smith (72) will play in the second-to-last group with American Daniel Berger (69) on Sunday aware that he needs a better day with the driver and for Muirfield Village to apply the squeeze to Horschel to register his third win of the year.

“That’s why you’ve just got to hang in there,” Smith said after starting his second round with back-to-back bogeys.

“Golf is a crazy game. You’ve got to try and get as much out of it as you can.

“You never know what this course is going to throw at you. Anything can really happen around here.

“This place is unreal. It seems like you can have a birdie on every hole and you can make a double or triple quite quickly, as well.

“I really have to go out there tomorrow and have to hit it better. Today was pretty unacceptable to be honest.

“Just really need to go out there, hit it better and really commit to what I’m doing.”

After his shaky start Smith made forward progress when he played a delicate chip to less than two feet for birdie at the par-5 fifth but dropped a shot with a third bogey at the par-4 10th.

It was another short birdie putt at the par-5 11th followed by a brilliant approach to 12 feet at 14 that got Smith back to square for his round and eight-under for the championship.

Smith wasn’t the only Aussie to employ their short-game to good effect on Saturday, Jason Day holing out on consecutive holes to climb inside the top 20 through 54 holes.

Day (68) first holed out from 142 yards for eagle at the par-4 third and then proved it was no fluke by holing his pitch shot for birdie at the par-3 fourth to jump into red figures, ending the day tied for 19th at three-under.

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