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Harris English shoots 5-under 65 to maintain a 2-stroke lead at TPC Southwind

MEMFIS, Tenn. – Harris Engels shot a 5-under 65 under TPC Southwind on Friday to take the lead in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to hold.

English has withstood strong challenges Cameron Smith and Abraham Ancer to achieve first place at 13-under 127.

Smith had a 62 that required only 18 holes, setting a PGA Tour record for the fewest putts in a round. Ancer shot a bogey-free 62, his 14th round of the season that was the tournament without a tournament.

Ian Poulter (66), Scottie Scheffler (65) and Sam Burns (64) was 10 under, and Louis Oosthuizen (64) and Bryson DeChambeau (66) was 9 under. DeChambeau missed the Tokyo Olympics last week due to a positive test for COVID-19.

English opened the World Golf Championships on Thursday with a 62 that matches his lowest PGA Tour score and entered the second round with a two-stroke advantage over a four that included Poulter.

The 2013 winner at TPC Southwind, English, showed no signs from the start that he would give up his lead. On the back nine, he filled in a 35-foot birdie putt on the 11th par 3 and added birdies on 14s and 16s.

The only spot during the English round was a bogey on the par-4 second hole. He misses a 9-foot par putt, but recovers immediately with an eagle on the par-5 third. He reached his approach within 5 feet and raised the putt by three strokes. He added another birdie at number 8.

Two of the four English four wins on the PGA Tour come this season, the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January in Hawaii and the Travelers Championship in June in Connecticut. He finished third in the US Open.

“This game is about confidence, and if you have confidence on your side, you run with it,” said Engels. “In the past, a (bad shot) would send me into a downward spiral. Now I enjoy it.”

A relatively windless day yielded very low scores. Of the 37 best on the standings, 34 shot 69 or better.

With 48 of the world’s top 50 players in the field of 66 players, English can not afford to be comfortable with how the first two rounds went.

“You have to hold down the accelerator pedal,” he said. “The scores are pretty low right now, and you can’t stop.”

Smith, who finished 10th at the Tokyo Olympics this past weekend, said he was unaware of the few pits he took before collecting them as he walked on the seventh seven-lane road.

“I said, ‘That can’t be right,'” Smith said. “It was just a great day on the greens. The surfaces here are so good.”

Smith also had a bogey-free round that included an eagle on the par-5 third hole. He only needed seven holes through the first nine holes. On the back nine, he rolled birds on no. 12, 14 and 16 – all within 25 feet – and nearly added a birdie at 18 and slid his 22-foot putt just to the left of the cup.

Ancer used solid iron play to place its 62nd. Each of its eight bird legs was within 17 feet.

“I’m really happy with the way I stroked the ball,” he said. “My long irons were spot on.”

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