ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – PLAYERS champion Cameron Smith set an unofficial PGA TOUR putting record on the way to taking the halfway lead at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Smith made an incredible 255-feet of putts during the second round at the Old Course headlined by a 64-foot, four-inch eagle putt on the par-5 14th hole – a mark higher than ever seen before in one round on the PGA TOUR.
The Australian shot an 8-under 64 on Friday that moved him to 13 under – two clear of Cameron Young and three ahead of Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland with 36 holes to play.
The official TOUR record belongs to Brent Geiberger who made 240-feet, four-inches worth of putts in the first round of the 2005 Booz Allen Classic. At The Open Championship the TOUR’s ShotLink equipment is not used – instead statistics are the domain of the tournament hosting R&A. As such they are not seen as official TOUR stats.
“Once it started breaking pretty good, about 10, 15 foot out, I thought it would have a chance,” Smith said of the eagle putt that sent his quest for a Claret Jug into overdrive.
“It’s not really one that you’re trying to hole, you’re just trying to get a nice easy birdie, but nice of it to pop in the side there.”
Smith is one of the better putters on the TOUR, coming into The Open Championship sitting 12th in Strokes Gained: Putting, first in putting average, fifth in one-putt percentage, fourth in putts per round and 11th in 3-Putt avoidance.
At THE PLAYERS Championship in March, Smith one-putted eight of his last nine holes on the way to the biggest victory of his career to date. The now five-time TOUR winner set a Strokes Gained: Putting tournament record at +11.521 at TPC Sawgrass where he made 401-feet, 10-inches worth of putts for the week, slightly behind his personal best of 415-feet.
This week at St. Andrews he’s needed just 28 putts in each of the first two rounds and although he also made putts from 47, 28 and 21-feet on the front nine on Friday, Smith said it was his lag-putting that was truly the key.
“I had lots of good lag putting again, lots of good two-putts,” he said despite holing from outside six-feet on 10 of 18 holes.
“I’m just basically looking at the hole and trying to see the ball just dropping in the front there. That’s always been the last thought of mine, is take a long, hard look at the hole and really feel the putt. I don’t take a practice stroke. I just get up there and really feel it.”