Date: April 30, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Smith takes lead from mate

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Another day, another Australian leader at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in Louisiana.

Queenslander Cameron Smith and his Swedish playing partner Jonas Blixt stormed to the lead with a 10-under-par 62 in four-ball competition on the second day, 24 hours after Victorian Ryan Ruffels had taken a share of the lead.

Smith, 23, was in contention last week in Texas as well, ultimately finishing tied sixth.

He and Blixt lead at 15-under, one clear of American duo Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay.

They enjoyed the relaxing team format. "We were really comfortable out there," Smith said. "We were both playing really good, and yes, it’s really relaxing.''

Brilliant teenager Ruffels remained on course for a strong finish with his playing partner Kyle Stanley in Louisiana, tied fifth after a second consecutive 66 to sit12 under, just three shots from the lead.

South Africans Tyrone Van Aswegen and Retief Goosen rattled around in a 12-under par 60, the low round of the day.

Another Australian, Geoff Ogilvy, is in contention with his playing partner Ian Poulter, reaching nine under through two rounds, while fellow Victorian Cameron Percy and American Grayson Murray made the cut on the number at seven under.

But Jason Day, playing in the marquee pairing with Rickie Fowler, just couldn't find the back-nine magic and finished at five under to miss the weekend action by two. Steve Bowditch and his good mate Boo Weekley also missed out despite finishing three under.

Ruffels and Stanley made seven birdies but slipped up at the par-four sixth hole, carding a bogey when Stanley found trouble and Ruffels three-putted from long range. Their day closed on a high point, though, when the American rolled in a 3m birdie putt at the last.

Ruffels, turning 19 on Saturday, is playing on invitation and a good result this weekend will go a long way to earning him status on the tour next year.

Meanwhile on the LPGA Tour, Australia's top-ranked player Minjee Lee is tied-11th through two rounds of the Texas Shootout, five shots from the lead held by 2016 Women's Australian Open champion Haru Nomura.

Lee finished at four under, two clear of compatriots and Queenslanders Sarah Jane Smith and Katherine Kirk.

Anmateur Anne Chen (+7), Karrie Webb (+9) and Su Oh (+11) all missed the cut.