The American followed up an opening 62 to get to 13 under but Mexican Abraham Ancer and Australia’s Cameron Smith both matched his first round effort to be the closest challengers, with Smith remarkably recording just 18 putts in round two.
World Number 14 English is searching for a first WGC win in Memphis but claimed victory at this event eight years ago and has two wins on the US PGA Tour in 2021.
Ian Poulter – a two time World Golf Championships winner – was then at ten under alongside Americans Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler, a shot clear of Major Champions Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen, who is currently third in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex following three top threes in Majors in his last four starts, signed for a bogey free 64.
Meanwhile, American DeChambeau made six birdies and two bogeys in a 66 to sit a shot ahead of countrymen Jim Herman and Will Zalatoris.
Harris English: “I’ve been playing really solid. When I miss the greens, I feel like my short game’s been on point and I feel like I’m putting it well. Made some good saves for par, good birdie putts. Everything is clicking right now so I feel like my strategy’s been working off the tee; a lot of right to left holes on the three wood, left to right holes I feel I can hit my fade with the driver and it’s been working out.
“It definitely changes a little bit day to day on what feels great. I don’t feel like my ball striking was quite where it was yesterday, but it is what it is. That’s the game of golf, you’ve got to take what it gives you and figure it out on the fly. I feel like I did a good job of that today.”
Cameron Smith: “It’s a pretty cool little title I guess to have next to your name. Like I said, I was actually hitting really nice golf shots as well that ended up just going off the green and made a few of them, and had a chip in there for par on four, which kept the round going. Yeah, was seeing the putts really good today.
“It’s always nice to, whether it’s on the green or not, to hole those putts of length for par and kind of keep the momentum going. The greens are so good around here, if you get the ball started online and you’ve hit a good putt, most of the time they’re going in. Yeah, really just a good day on the greens.”
Abraham Ancer: “Very solid off the tee and iron play as well, rolled the ball really good. I wasn’t really thinking about that. That’s always my goal, to be bogey free when I tee it up. Makes me kind of simplify every hole and just get me hitting greens is the biggest goal and then from there I just focus obviously on my putting. Happy that I got a round like that under my belt here.
“This is a very demanding golf course off the tee and also with iron play. I know it wasn’t playing as tough as it could be just because it was a little softer and not very windy, but still you have to hit your spots, for sure.”
Ian Poulter: “I feel good. Just that one blemish, which really was a shame. Plenty of chances, chances coming in the house. You know, a birdie putt just shaves the edge on 18 and there were a few others which could have dropped. All in all, I’m playing some good golf and I feel kind of a little bit recharged and ready to go, and I know a few others that have played the Olympics in the heat are obviously kind of feeling it right now.
“I’m just looking forward to playing some nice golf. I just got to keep doing what I’m doing. I feel my game’s been in shape for quite some time, I’ve been on a decent run of form and I just want to help Paddy (Pádraig Harrington) out, I want to make that team, I really want to be a part of this Ryder Cup team. Just keep playing some nice golf and everything takes care of itself.”