Cameron Smith takes the lead by a single shot at the weekend at the PGA Tour Memorial

Dublin, Ohio – Cameron Smith He says he thinks he plays the best golf game of his life, and it shows. He’s in the lead at the Memorial, a tournament in which the Australian golfer doesn’t have a great history.

Smith elicited one of the loudest cheers on a glorious afternoon in Muirfield Village – another anomaly in this weather-packed championship – when he stashed a regression chip from behind the green on the 13th of the month that took him to 3-under 69.

Keep one shot difference Denny McCarthy And the KH Lee The rest of the day doing what Smith does best. He drilled a 15-foot bounty shot into the next hole and twice made two 6-foot poses to save the vault below the span.

“I think I’m just happy with the way I hung in there,” Smith said. “Really happy with where my short game has come. I feel like I’m rolling the ball really well. Just need to sort out these long things.”

As for his date of the anniversary?

In six previous appearances, Smith only made the cut twice and both times he finished outside 60th. His best run was 71.

But this is a new Smith, winner of the Players Championship, the Guardian Champions Championship and the No. 3 player in the world rankings.

So his rounds of 67-69 to get to 8-under 136 and be on top before the weekend is no surprise, even in Muirfield Village.

“I think my game is in a good place,” he said. “There is no reason why I can’t play.” “I’m playing some of the best golf of my life, and I feel like I’m becoming more attuned to the taller things. So I’m just looking forward to everything to come.”

Billy Horschel He put a bird on each hole and made four of them for the 68 that left him in the second set behind with winner Tori Pines. Luke is notJunior PGA Tour Cameron Young And the Davis RileyAnd the Jonathan Vegas.

Rory McIlroy He had 69 and had 3 shots behind him. title holder Patrick Cantlay She closed in with two big shootouts for 69 and was in 3-under 141.

The cut was in 2 – over 146. It was among those who lost in the weekend Bryson DeShampoo And the English HarrisBoth of them are back from injuries. DeChambeau (hand surgery) has not played since the Masters. English (hip surgery) has not played since the Sony Open in January.

Also missing the cut Hudson SwaffordAnd the Matt JonesAnd the good morgan Australian and United States amateur champion James Peyotegiving them two extra days to pack up in London and the first Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational invite next week that puts PGA Tour membership at risk, at least for Swafford and Jones.

McCarthy’s name was mentioned prominently even before the anniversary began, and then lived up to the praise. He only had 25 hits on Friday – he had only 24 hits the day before – versus 3 under 69 balls that put him in the back.

For those who don’t beat the pool of stats available on the PGA Tour, it was a bit of a surprise when McIlroy was asked earlier in the week who he considers the best racket in today’s game. He pointed to Jordan Spieth. Everyone knows him. I like it Sam Burnsa three-time winner in the past eight months.

McCarthy mentioned.

Telling McCarthy about McIlroy’s comments earlier in the week, he smiled and said, “I’d like to drive it like Rory.”

“Everyone has the best part of their game,” said McCarthy, fifth in the main position stat of the season. “Shooting is clearly a part of me.” “Driving the ball is the best part of his game. I’m not slack around the track, like shooting isn’t the only thing I do well. Everyone brings the bat; yes, I’m a good bat. But I need to do good things to get to those hits.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy has been gaining a bit of momentum since he finished 64 in the Masters to finish second. He finished 4 shots at the Wells Fargo Championship and 3 shots from a PGA Championship playoff.

McIlroy thrust into the mix at the memorial with a pass metal that was high and real and in a fresh breeze to a 6-foot-5 Eagle at the end of his run. His momentum was slowed by a bogey from the bunker in the eighth of par-3, but his 69 left him in reasonable shape as the weekend entered.

John Ram Beat the shank on the second hole – make a birdie on the next hole – to scratch 70 without the best iron game. It was at 2 under 142, 6 shots. Ram won in 2020. He was ahead by six shots after three rounds last year until his positive COVID-19 test knocked him out of the final round.