Smith three shots ahead after back nine surge

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  • Cameron Smith
    Cameron Smith
    Professional golfer

Cameron Smith produced another stunning round at the Tournament of Champions to claim a three-stroke lead at the halfway point in Hawaii.

The Australian had carded a pair of eagles en route to an eight-under 65 on day one and went one better at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on Friday.

Smith recovered from back-to-back bogeys to start the round to make the turn in a three-under 33 and then surged down the back nine.

He made gains at the 11th and 13th and then produced a surge starting at the 15th to finish at 17 under par with a nine-under 64.

After reeling off three successive birdies, Smith made a short putt for his fourth in a row to give himself an extra cushion moments after Daniel Berger had failed with his birdie putt.

Berger joins Jon Rahm on 14 under par, the Spaniard making birdie at the last after an outstanding second shot.

Rahm, making his debut on the PGA Tour this season, was disappointed by his performance on the greens.

"I left a lot of putts short, that's just nitpicking, can't be perfect at everything even though we try," Rahm said.

"Hopefully I can polish it a little bit, get the speed going a little bit better and give those putts a chance to go in."

Patrick Cantlay is a shot further back, with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama also among those impressing. He is 12 under through 36 holes along with Sungjae Im.

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