Daly 3 back at Nationwide’s Fort Smith Classic

John Daly hits a drive during the pro-am for the Fort Smith Classic.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – John Daly shot a 2-under 68 and finished three strokes off the lead after the second round of the Nationwide Tour’s Fort Smith Classic on Friday.

Daly finished tied for fifth at 6 under at the 6,783-yard Hardscrabble Country Club course. First-round leader Nathan Smith (70) is again atop the leaderboard at 9 under after two rounds. Zack Miller (66) is one stroke behind.

This is Daly’s first Nationwide event since 1991. He is from Dardanelle, about 75 miles from Fort Smith, and organizers hope he can help this struggling tournament find a title sponsor so it can remain viable for the future.

“I was five shots out to begin the day and the lead didn’t move, so now I’m three shots back,” Daly said. “Any time you can pick up a couple here and there on Friday, it makes you feel good. It’s anybody’s ballgame.”

The two-time major champion birdied Nos. 1, 6 and 11. He also saved par several times, including on the par-4 18th after his tee shot went far to the right and bounced off the cart path, and his second shot went over the green and between the grandstands. Daly bounced back with a nice chip on his third shot and made a 15-foot putt for par. Daly made par on each of the final seven holes.

“I’m putting real well,” Daly said. “I’m hitting my lines. If you’re hitting your lines and not making them it’s just the rub of the green. I made a few key putts for par today and I left a lot on the table, but I really like the way I’m stroking the ball.”

Miller birdied three holes on the back nine to tie Smith for the lead before bogeying his final hole.

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