MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Matthew Fitzpatrick, who finished among the top 21 in three of the four majors this year, holds a two-shot lead at the midway point of the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Friday, July 26.
The 24-year-old Englishman shot the day's best round, a 6-under-par 64, to sit at 9-under 131 through two rounds at TPC Southwind.
First-round lead Jon Rahm of Spain slipped to 1-over 71 on Friday, leaving him in a four-way tie for second. Joining Rahm at 7 under are Patrick Cantlay (2 under in the second round), Billy Horschel (4 under) and Australia's Cameron Smith (2 under).
Japan's Shugo Imahira (1 under on Friday) holds sixth place at 6 under. Six players, including world No. 1 Brooks Koepka and No. 4 Justin Rose of England, are tied for seventh at 5 under.
Fitzpatrick owns five victories on the European Tour, most recently capturing his second Omega European Masters title last September. He has never won in the United States, but he was the runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
Fitzpatrick started impressively Friday, recording birdies on each of the first four holes. He made his lone bogey of the day at No. 8 but bounced back to birdie No. 9. Fitzpatrick added two more birdies on the back nine.
"Just gave myself plenty of chances and these greens are as good as we play all year," Fitzpatrick said, according to Yahoo Sports. "I've been getting a bit more aggressive. Put myself in a good position for the weekend."
In contrast to Fitzpatrick's start, Rahm had three bogeys and no birdies through his first 12 holes Friday. However, he added three birdies and one bogey the rest of the way.
Smith, whose only career PGA Tour win came in pairs action at the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, was enjoying a bogey-free round until he shot a 5 on the par-4 18th hole.
"Pretty pleased," he said, according to Yahoo Sports. "Didn't hit as many good putts as yesterday. This Bermuda rough, there's nothing quite like it, you never know how it's going to come out."
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is tied for 13th at 4 under after a 3-under 67.
The defending champion, Justin Thomas, managed a 1-under 69 and is tied for 18th at 3 under. He won the WGC invitational event last year when it was played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Dustin Johnson, the 2018 winner of the PGA event at TPC Southwind, was 1 under in the second round. The world's second-ranked player shares 22nd place at 2 under.