Cameron Smith ties Big Easy scoring mark, expands lead on crowded leaderboard at Sentry Tournament of Champions

Overnight leader Cameron Smith remained atop the first page of the leaderboard through two rounds of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

He has plenty of company.

In ideal scoring conditions – gentle breezes, soft greens, huge fairways, and preferred lies – players took apart the Plantation Course at Kapalua and set up a weekend ripe for a stampede full of birdies and eagles to Sunday’s finish line.

Smith, who overcame a slow start for the second consecutive day – he began bogey-bogey – stormed back with an eagle and nine birdies in his last 14 holes to sign for a 9-under-par 64 Friday to reach 17 under. That tied the 36-hole tournament scoring record first set by Ernie Els in 2003.

The field averaged a shade under 68 – the lowest mark since 1999.

“A few bad shots there the first couple of holes. I didn’t really feel that comfortable on the range this morning and it kind of showed those first couple,” Smith said. “Figured it out by the fourth or fifth and was able to get on a bit of a roll with the putter as well.

“I’ve been playing golf basically my whole life, I could figure it out pretty quickly, and like I said, I figured it out within a few holes, started to feel really comfortable there, especially with the driver. Then the putter felt good the whole day.”

Cameron Smith hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Closing with four consecutive birdies, Smith gave himself some breathing room on the stacked leaderboard. World No. 1 Jon Rahm (66-66) and Daniel Berger (66-66) are three shots back at 14 under.

“I think the wind being down obviously was a big factor,” Berger said of the scoring binge. “But it’s tough when you’re one of the last guys out and you see a bunch of low scores early. So it’s to be expected out here and you just kind of have to stay patient and know that the opportunities are going to come, and you have to take advantage when they do.”

Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay (66-67) is at 13 under.

Hideki Matsuyama (69-65) and Sungjae Im (67-67) are at 12 under.

Kevin Na, who will defend his 2021 title next week in the Sony Open (67-68) is at 11 under. Seven players finished at 10 under, including Brooks Koepka (68-68), 2019 Sentry champion Xander Schauffele (69-67), and Sam Burns (72-64).

Seven players are 9 under, including Bryson DeChambeau (69-68).

Rahm was often heard muttering to himself about leaving many of his putts short. His pace improved on the back nine as he birdied three of his last five holes.

“It was really good tee to green. If there’s anything to put an asterisk on, it’s maybe

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By: Steve DiMeglio
Title: Cameron Smith ties Big Easy scoring mark, expands lead on crowded leaderboard at Sentry Tournament of Champions
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Published Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2022 03:44:30 +0000

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