Brian Smock jumps to top of PPC leaderboard with 7-under 64

Brian Smock
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
After grinding for a 2-over 74 on Sunday, Brian Smock fired a 7-under 64 on Monday in the second round of the PGA Professional Championship.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 | 6:04 p.m.

SUNRIVER, Oregon -- Before the first round of the PGA Professional Championship on Sunday, 44-year-old Brian Smock wasn't even sure if he'd play.

Smock, a longtime Web.com Tour player competing in his first PPC this week, has a herniated disc in his back, as well as spinal stenosis. When he carried his own bag for a practice round late last week, he tweaked something and was in serious pain.

He was able to get a prescription filled before the start of play in Round 1 and was able to grind out a 2-over 74 at Crosswater. That had him in a tie for 90th after 18 holes.

Fast forward 24 hours and Smock, feeling a lot more comfortable with his back, blitzed the Meadows course to the tune of a 7-under 64.

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At 5 under through 36 holes, he owned the early clubhouse lead on Monday.

"Yesterday was a bigger round probably than today, because I could have shot a million, but I hung in there," he said.

"I just felt a lot better today. I know my game is good. Yesterday I was tired and I wasn't executing. Today I went back to my normal game. I executed well, I hit some putts. I kept the ball in play. I played really conservatively off the tee and put the ball in play. You could hit driver everywhere, but the ball's going a long way (even with less than driver), so I was just trying to give myself chances. I didn't do anything fancy. I just hit some good shots and made some putts."

Off the tee, Smock said the clubs he hit most often were his 3 and 5 irons. Playing at elevation here in Sunriver, the ball is traveling 10 percent longer.

It was a perfect strategy. Smock made eight birdies to go against just one bogey on the par-4 14th hole.

"I knew after a 74 yesterday that I was going to have to play a lot better today," Smock said. "I needed to get it going. I figured I'd take a couple of chances early on to get some momentum. On Nos. 1 and 2 I hit drivers and got off to a good start and then just kept it rolling."

Through 36 holes, Smock is loving his position.

"I have a lot of tournament experience. I played a long time on the Web.com and I've been a Class-A PGA Professional for about a year and a half now. I just come out here to enjoy myself. I love competing and this gives us an opportunity to do that, so I want to take advantage of that while I still can. ‎ 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.