2022 Memorial Tournament leaderboard: Cameron Smith commands solo lead after Round 2 as Rory McIlroy lurks

A improbable leaderboard has taken form heading into the weekend of the 2022 Memorial Event. All vying for the coveted handshake with Jack Nicklaus off the inexperienced of the 72nd gap, Cameron Smith instructions the lead on the midway level. Following up his opening spherical of 5-under 67 with a efficiency of 3-under 69, the Australian seems primed to proceed his breakout season and seize his third victory of the yr.

“I believe my sport’s in a great spot. There isn’t any motive why I should not be [at the top of the leaderboard],” mentioned Smith. “I am taking part in a number of the greatest golf of my life, and I really feel I am getting extra in step with the longer stuff. So [I am] simply wanting ahead to every little thing arising.”

With the U.S. Open happening in two weeks, Smith is implying his need so as to add a significant championship title to his trophy case, however he higher not look too far forward as a powerful chasing pack has developed at Muirfield Village. Rookies Cameron Younger and Davis Riley, younger stars Joaquin Niemann and Sungjae Im, and main champions Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy are all inside 4 strokes of Smith’s lead. It ought to make for an thrilling weekend of golf in Dublin, Ohio.

The chief

1. Cameron Smith (-8): To say Smith’s historical past at Muirfield Village is poor can be an understatement. In six prior outings, the world No. Three has missed the reduce 4 occasions and did not register a single top-60 end result. That begs questioning: what’s completely different this time round? 

Most would assume his driving accuracy and streaky iron play are current this week, however surprisingly they aren’t. As an alternative, it has been his short-game prowess, as Smith has gotten up-and-down 15 of 18 occasions and leads the sector in strokes gained across the inexperienced. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see if this a part of his sport will proceed to bail him out, because the 28-year-old has linked on solely 18 fairways and 21 greens in regulation via 36 holes.

“[I am] actually pleased with the place my quick sport’s at,” mentioned Smith. “I really feel like I am rolling the ball actually good. Simply have to kind out that longer stuff. Did not actually hit many fairways on the again 9, however simply have to hit a couple of balls and type it out.”

Different contenders

T2. Denny McCarthy and Okay.H. Lee (-7)

T4. Davis Riley, Cameron Younger, Jhonattan Vegas, Luke Listing and Billy Horschel (-6)

T9. Aaron Clever, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Keith Mitchell (-5)

McIlroy is the elephant within the room, as he been taking part in fantastically ever since his quick end on the 2022 Masters. Amassing a prime 5 on the Wells Fargo Championship and placing collectively a top-10 effort on the PGA Championship, the Northern Irishman seems effectively on his strategy to including to this stretch of high quality outcomes.

“One other strong day’s play,” mentioned McIlroy after a second spherical of 3-under 69. “Couple of foolish bogeys … however I suppose it kind of occurs round right here. It is getting tough and you are going to make bogeys no matter the place they arrive. General, two strong rounds of golf, proper in rivalry going into the weekend.”

Riley and Younger are again at it once more

The 2 PGA Tour rookies are in rivalry as soon as once more as they each sit inside the highest 5 after 36 holes. At 6 below, they’re solely two strokes off the lead and well-positioned to seize their first victory on tour. Coming into this week, Riley had six top-10 finishes, together with a playoff loss on the Valspar Championship and a tie for fourth finally week’s Charles Schwab Problem. In the meantime, Younger possesses 5 podium finishes, together with three in his final three begins with the latest coming on the PGA Championship.

“I believe the extra I put myself there, the extra snug I will be,” mentioned Younger on Friday. “Not that I am uncomfortable, significantly, however I believe the extra it simply turns into regular, the extra doubtless you’re to have a day the place — a Saturday or a Sunday the place you may actually submit a very low quantity, which I have never actually carried out but.”

Skilled golfers … they’re identical to us

Former Memorial Event winner Jon Rahm seems primed to contend for a second title at Muirfield Village over the weekend, however that’s not why he’s making information at present. The world No. 2 hit a shot all of us golf followers and weekend warriors can relate to when he shanked his strategy into the par-Four second throughout his second spherical.

“Ball beneath my ft, uncomfortable shot, wind,” mentioned Rahm. “And tried to drive it in low and did not clear in any respect. Filled with indecision. It was a recipe for catastrophe. Might have been both green-side bunker or quick and ended up being worse. I did get fortunate with what occurred. I used to be capable of save a bogey, which was minimizing the error. I believed it was going out of bounds, and I used to be watching a 7.”

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas joined in on the enjoyable on social media, needling the Spaniard for his shot. The world No. 5 skilled an analogous shot of his personal within the closing spherical on the Southern Hills, recovered for bogey and ultimately captured his second main championship. Time will inform if Rahm can do the identical as he enters the weekend six strokes off the lead.

Collin Morikawa’s chilly streak continues

The final month has not been form to the 25-year-old, as he stays with no top-20 end for the reason that Masters. The iron play has been middling, and the putter was as unhealthy because it will get and on Friday. He missed solely his second reduce of the yr with a 36-hole rating of Four over. In three prior journeys to Muirfield Village, Morikawa had collected a victory and a playoff defeat to Patrick Cantlay finally season’s Memorial Event. With this being his final begin till the U.S. Open at The Nation Membership, one has to marvel how the two-time main champion will fare in Boston. 

Up to date odds and picks

Here is a have a look at the up to date odds on the midway level, through Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Cameron Smith: 3-1
  • Rory McIlroy: 8-1
  • Cameron Younger: 10-1
  • Okay.H. Lee: 12-1
  • Davis Riley: 12-1
  • Billy Horschel: 14-1
  • Denny McCarthy: 18-1
  • Luke Listing: 22-1
  • Joaquin Niemann: 25-1
  • Jhonattan Vegas: 25-1
  • Aaron Clever: 25-1

Oddly sufficient, we’ve got seen Smith on this place earlier than at a Nicklaus design, as he was the 36-hole chief at The Concession Membership final yr earlier than a poor weekend noticed him tumble down the leaderboard. With the golf course changing into firmer and sooner, ball-striking competence can be much more essential, which can spell hassle for Smith. Corey Conners (-2) at 100-1 leads the sector in strokes gained strategy and has missed solely 5 greens in regulation up thus far. The putter is usually the Achilles heel for the Canadian, as it’s this week, but if it chooses to cooperate within the back-half of this event, he’s greater than able to overcoming a six-stroke deficit.

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