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Cameron Smith moves into Phoenix Open contention

Smith is just three from the lead (Photo: Henry Peters)
Australian Cameron Smith has continued on from his strong finish at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by adding a second round of 65 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and at the halfway mark of the event in Scottsdale in Arizona he finds himself in a share of 5th place and three shots behind leader Rickie Fowler.

Smith finished 9th last week and continues his ongoing rise in the game, his current standing of 28th in the world having him on track for even higher honours.

His final-hole birdie was his 7th of his afternoon round on day two and, having played this event on three previous occasions for a best of only 42nd, his improvement reflects the progress he continues to make.

Three starts ago Smith won his second consecutive Australian PGA Championship and has followed that up with two good finishes in the opening two events of 2019, a final round of 65 in San Diego last week earning him that share of 9th place.

Aaron Baddeley was the only other Australian in the field but after a good start yesterday he struggled to a round of 77 today and will not play the weekend.

Rickie Fowler has the 36 hole lead although, interestingly, he led through 54 holes last year before finishing 11th. Today, however, he reeled off four consecutive birdies to finish his round of 65 and in just his second event of the year, the changes he has made to his game of late seem to be taking effect. 

Fowler leads by one over housemate this week, Justin Thomas, with Branden Grace and Trey Mullinax another shot back in a share of 3rd after their 'rounds of the day' 64's. Then comes Smith and Matt Kuchar.

Pre-tournament favourite, Jon Rahm, is in a share of 11th place at 7 under and six from the lead while two-time winner, Hideki Matsuyama is at 5 under.

SIGNATURE HOLES PALM MEADOWS 18TH

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