Smith's one-over 73 at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course left the Queenslander at one-over through 36 holes, six behind veteran American Phil Mickelson (69) and Smith's Presidents Cup teammate Louis Oosthuizen (68) who top the leaderboard at five-under.

But the 27-year-old says the difficult windy conditions that saw many big-name players – including the world's top two Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas – stumble and miss the cut, open the door for a weekend charge.

"It's certainly doable," Smith said.

"It's going to be really tricky on the weekend, I don't think the course is going to get any easier.

"So I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing, keep missing in the right places and just hope for the best. Hopefully some putts go in.

"It's probably the two hardest condition days I've seen, to be honest.

"But a score is still out there, which I love.

"The course has been set up really nice. It's just you've got to kind of get lucky getting those longer putts to go in."

Despite the fact he has not won a major since 2013, Smith knows Mickelson will not easily loosen his grip on the lead.

"He's still Phil Mickelson to me. He knows that he can win. He walks around like he can still win, and he talks the talk. It'll be tough to catch him," Smith said.

- Ben Everill