2021 Memorial Tournament leaderboard: Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm co-lead at Muirfield Village

The cream rose to the top during a long second day of Memorial Tournament action on Friday. This is not unexpected at a place like Muirfield Village as elite ball-strikers typically win this tournament, but at a stop-and-start event like this one, sometimes the entire rhythm to the tournament can feel incredibly uneven just as it has over the first two days.

The late wave on Thursday afternoon got washed out and had to finish up their first rounds early on Friday before playing 18 more holes in the middle of the day, which led to days like co-leader Patrick Cantlay had where he played 33 holes after getting up at 4:30 a.m.

Cantlay finished off a first-round 69 early in the day before shooting 67 into the afternoon. He was joined late in the evening by Jon Rahm, who shot 69 in Round 1 and is 5 under thru his first 15 holes in Round 2 (which he’ll finish on Saturday). This is significant because these two have won the last two Memorials and are also two of the 10 best ball-strikers in the world. A rubber match between them on Sunday would be awesome.

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Let’s take a look at what went down on Day 2 at Muirfield Village and what to expect from what should be a tremendous weekend at a preeminent event.

T1. Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm (-8): Cantlay has had a strange few months. He’s missed multiple cuts but has not been hitting the ball all that poorly. Instead it’s been a normally-steady putter that has fallen off the planet and led to missed weekends at the Players Championship, Masters, RBC Heritage and Wells Fargo Championship. He recently rebounded with a top 25 at the PGA Championship, and Muirfield Village is a place where he’s had a stupid amount of success (nobody has gained more strokes per round over the last decade). He’s been good this week, specifically with his putter (top 15 in strokes gained), which is meaningful considering he’d lost strokes with that club in eight of his last 11 measured rounds.

“I think you have to be really patient and I think you have to be aware of not falling asleep out there,” Cantlay said of his long day. “I think you have to really even tell yourself, ‘Click back in, this is what we’re trying to do’ and get really specific with clicking back in and telling your computer what you’re really trying to get it to do. We’re out there for such a long time today that you could fall asleep at the wheel a little bit. So being cognizant of that and checking in with yourself, are you as focused as you can be, when you need to be, I think is key.”

3. Scottie Scheffler (-6): Like Cantlay, Scheffler completed his first round early before cleaning up a 71 late to slide into solo third. He said it was a bit of a throwback to his college days at the University of Texas.

“So we did this a lot in college, we played a lot of 36-hole days, so I always had or I felt like I always had success on those days,” said Scheffler. “I was almost a little bit excited to be able to play that many holes in one day. I always felt like my game trended the more the round went on. I got off to a little slow start after the first round completed, but other than that I feel like I played some really solid golf today.”

Scheffler – who is ranked No. 24 in the world – is still looking for his first win.

T4. Max Homa, Carlos Ortiz, Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler (-5): This is fascinating group, but to me the headliner here is Fowler. His recent resurgence is a big deal in the golf world, and he’s been terrific so far this week with just one bogey through his first 29 holes. If he continues to move toward the leaders this weekend, him winning for the first time since the start of 2019 will take over as a massive storyline.

T8. Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa (-4): An elite ball-striking group here, but Matsuyama was the best of the bunch on Friday as he’s 5 under thru 13 holes in his second round after finishing over par in Round 1. Morikawa was the first-round leader, but he’s over par after making triple at the 12th hole in his second round (which he will finish up on Saturday morning).

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