Cameron Smith waits to tee off on the seventh hole during the second round of the World Golf Championships Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee. Picture: Mark Humphrey/AP
Cameron Smith waits to tee off on the seventh hole during the second round of the World Golf Championships Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee. Picture: Mark Humphrey/AP

Cameron Smith firing at World Golf Championships

CAMERON Smith says his laid-back Queensland attitude is keeping him calm while contending with the big names at the mega-rich World Golf Championships Invitational in Tennessee.

Smith drew on his unflappable disposition when his hot second round at TPC Southwind looked to come undone spectacularly at the final hole of the $US10.25 million ($A14.8 million) event.

Having not made a mistake in his round, the 25-year-old was on the 18th hole when his drive landed in the thick rough before his recovery found the water hazard.

After a penalty drop, Smith showed deft touch to place his pitch shot within tap-in distance for bogey - his only blemish on Friday (Saturday AEST) - to avoid a scorecard disaster.

He signed for a two-under 68, and at seven-under-par will begin Saturday's (Sunday AEST) third round just two strokes from the lead.

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick tops the leaderboard after 36 holes, after a 64, and at nine-under he leads Smith, Patrick Cantlay (68), Jon Rahm (71) and Bill Horschel (66).

Smith was asked by local Memphis media if he embraced his underdog mentality when contending in a field featuring 45 of the world's top 50 players among a 63-man field.

The Brisbane native attempted to explain the concept of rugby league's State of Origin, and admitted he constantly took inspiration from his beloved Maroons side.

"I'm a Queenslander and I don't know if you know what that means," Smith told local media.

"But every year in Australia we have a rugby league match between Queensland and NSW and it seems we are the underdogs every year.

"We usually smash the NSW team and that spurs me on a little bit."

Smith has returned to form after a mid-year slump when he missed four cuts from six events on the US PGA Tour.

But he was the only Australian to make the cut at last week's British Open, where he tied for 20th.

World No.42 Smith said not slacking off was key to continuing his form at this week's WGC Invitational and into the upcoming $US70 million ($A101 million) FedEx Cup play-offs.

"I've been working hard last few months, but when the game comes easy to me, it's easy to slack off," he said.

"It's something I have to be aware of, and mentally, I have to make a note to keep working as hard as I normally do."

Marc Leishman (69) and Adam Scott (68) are next best of the Australians at two-under, seven shots off the pace.

Former world No.1 Jason Day (69) rounds out the Australian contingent, but is struggling at one-over for the week.

- AAP

News Corp Australia


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