Brandt Snedeker hails from Nashville, Tennessee, which is widely regarded as America’s Music City, and today he lived up to its name by hitting all the high notes with a superb 64 which catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard mid-way through the second round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The 31 year-old American had started the day in fifth place after a faultless opening round of four under par 66 and he quickly leapfrogged Adam Scott, Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts with another error-free round which saw him tie the existing 36-hole Championship record on 130.
Snedeker is currently the only competitor not to have dropped a shot to par in this year’s Championship and he started his second round in style with a birdie two on the 192-yard par-3 1st before adding further birdies on the 6th, 7th and 9th to race to the turn in four under par 30.
The 3-time PGA Tour winner went on to claim two more birdies on the 11th and 12th before closing with six consecutive pars to open an early eight shot clubhouse lead over Luke Donald, Steve Stricker and the largely unheralded New Zealander, Steven Alker.
Overnight a total of 11 millimetres of rain had fallen on an already saturated course but the destruction it wrought had no effect on Snedeker who produced a masterful performance on a day when many of the field were struggling and only Simon Dyson (67), Donald, Carl Pettersson and Louis Oosthuizen (all 68) and Alker and Branden Grace (both 69) broke par among the early starters.
Snedeker’s round was all-the-more impressive because he had arrived in Lancashire having missed the cut on his three previous appearances in the Championship in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“I’m in shock right now,” said the man who cracked a rib earlier this year while coughing and missed the US Open as a result.
“I feel pretty good not to have dropped a shot so far this week and am proud to tie the Championship 36-hole record.
“I’m playing what I’d call boring golf right now,” he added.” All I’m trying to do is to hit the middle of the greens and not get in any trouble.”
At the other end of the leaderboard former Masters champion, Phil Mickelson, was one of a sizeable number of big name players destined to miss the cut. The 42 year-old American left-hander had requested a late invite to play in last week’s Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open Championship at Castle Stuart but all the extra preparation proved to be in vain when he added a calamitous 78 to his opening 73 to miss the cut by some considerable distance on 11 over par 151.
Mickelson started his second round brightly enough with pars on the first two holes but then carded a bogey on the 3rd and a double bogey on the 6th to go out in 37. He did secure a birdie two on short 12th but then a brace of double bogeys on the 13th and 15th plus bogeys on the 15th and 18th put paid any lingering hopes he might have had of making his 16 cut in 19 Open Championship appearances.
Among the other well-known players who seemed destined to miss out on the weekend were Tom Lehman (73-72-145), Ben Curtis (75-74-149), Trevor Immelman 74-75-149) and Paul Casey (72-79-151).