WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Matt Fitzpatrick moves two ahead
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 27/07/19 7:27am
Matt Fitzpatrick made a blistering start to his second round to open up a two-shot advantage at the WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational.
The Englishman birdied his first four holes on his way to a round-of-the-day 64 at TPC Southwind, lifting him to nine under and two ahead of a four-way tie for second that includes overnight leader Jon Rahm.
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Billy Horschel, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Smith complete the quartet sitting on seven under ahead of Shugo Imahira, with Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy heading into the weekend four and five strokes back respectively.
"I'm not on anyone's radar every week, it's great," Fitzpatrick said. "I think the golf course probably suits me a little bit more than most."
The world No 29 started the day five strokes off the pace but raced up the leaderboard by rolling in an eight-footer at the first and nailing a 25-foot birdie at the next, before taking advantage of the par-five third and converting from 10 feet at the fourth.
The birdie run came to an end with a two-putt par at the fifth and the 24-year-old failed to get up and down from the bunker to save par at the eighth, only to pick up a shot at the next to turn in 31.
Fitzpatrick edged ahead of the field with an eight-foot gain at the 12th and drained a long-range birdie at the par-five 16th, before closing out his blemish-free back nine with back-to-back pars.
Smith held outright second until he found water with his approach into the 18th and carded a closing bogey, while Horschel's four-under 66 also ended with a blemish at the ninth - also his final hole.
The pair share second with Cantlay, who recovered a three-putt double-bogey at the 12th to birdie two of his final three holes, and Rahm, who followed his opening-round 62 with a one-over 71.
English duo Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are alongside Koepka, Alex Noren, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson in tied-seventh, while McIlroy is up to tied-13th after a bogey-free 67.
The Northern Irishman birdied his opening hole of the day - the 10th - before getting up and down from the bunker to birdie the 16th and make a 20-footer at the fourth.
Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood is on two under after a second-round 70, with Dustin Johnson alongside him in tied-22nd after closing his one-under 69 with three birdies in the last four holes.
Watch the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational throughout the weekend on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 7pm on Sky Sports Golf.