Snedeker the man to catch at Lytham
Golf: Brandt Snedeker today claimed his place in British Open history to set a daunting clubhouse target at Royal Lytham. Snedeker added a brilliant 64 to his opening 66 for a 10-under-par total of 130, equalling the lowest score over the first 36 holes in championship history and the lowest Open round at Lytham.
Nick Faldo also shot rounds of 66 and 64 at Muirfield in 1992, while Tom Lehman’s round of 64 on his way to winning here in 1996 was matched by first-round leader Adam Scott. Snedeker, who had been 25 over par for his previous three Open appearances, was two behind Scott overnight but wiped out his deficit in style with a flawless front nine of 30.
The 31-year-old from Tennessee picked up shots at the first, sixth, seventh and ninth, before adding further birdies on the 11th and 12th to move four shots clear of the field.
He looked in danger of dropping his first shots of the week on the 15th and 18th, but saved par superbly each time to complete a remarkable 36 holes without a bogey on one of the most difficult courses on the Open rota.
Scott is hot on his heels on nine under, having carded a mightily impressive round of 67 with the pair well clear of a large chasing group, among them Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell and Paul Lawrie. McDowell ended with a 69 and -4 for the tournament having bogeyed the 11th. But he reclaimed the shot on the 13th and remains firmly in contention.
Woods seemed totally in chage of his game. The 14 times Major winner used a driver just once in his round, preferring the safety of irons off the tee. A birdie on the 16th took him to -5. Imperious and methodical Woods played a patient game and it paid handsomely, a 3 on the par 4 18th after chipping in from the greenside bunker leaving him at six under par.
Lawrie could only manage a rould of 71 while McDowell and Woods both had two holes to play before reaching the scorers hut.
World number one Luke Donald had earlier carded four birdies in five holes from the fourth to be out in 31, but then fluffed a chip on the 10th to bogey and eventually signed for a 68 to lie two under.
That was considerably better than former US Open champion Rory McIlroy however, who found five of Lytham’s 206 bunkers and dropped six shots on those holes in a 75 that left him two over.
Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson fared even worse with a 78 to finish 11 over, but England’s Greg Owen looked to have found the ideal way to make the cut, holing his second shot to the 18th for an eagle two and a second consecutive round of 71. Owen also had an albatross on the par-five 11th when the Open was last staged at Lytham in 2001.