Brandt Snedeker says he’s as surprised as anyone to be at the top of the British Open leaderboard and in the record book.
Snedeker shot a 6-under-par 64 today at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in northwest England to move to 10 under and leads by one stroke after two rounds of golf’s oldest major championship.
The American’s 36-hole total of 130 ties the Open record set by Nick Faldo at Muirfield in Scotland in 1992, while his 64 matches the tournament record at Lytham shared by Tom Lehman in 1996 and Adam Scott yesterday.
“I’m sure everyone in this room is in as much shock as I am right now,” Snedeker, 31, said at a news conference. “I’ve played pretty well the first two days. Just going to keep trying to do that over the weekend.”
Scott is second at 9 under following a 67 today. Tiger Woods moved into third at 6 under by chipping in for birdie from the bunker on the 18th hole to finish with 67.
Snedeker has been almost flawless the first two days. He’s yet to make a bogey and has not put a ball in any of the 206 bunkers that dot the course.
The Nashville, Tennessee, native opened his round with a birdie today to get to 5 under. Consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh holes were followed by another at No. 9 as he made the turn in 30.
Back-to-back birdies got him to 10 under after 12 and he played par golf the rest of the way, rolling in a 10-foot putt on the 18th after hitting his tee shot wide right off the fairway.
“No bogeys around here is getting some good breaks and playing some pretty good golf,” said Snedeker, who has three career U.S. PGA Tour victories. “My mantra all week has been to get my ball on the greens as fast as possible. Once I’m there I have a pretty good hand for the speed of the greens.”
Though Snedeker missed the cut in his three previous Open appearances, it hasn’t dampened his enjoyment of links golf. He said he first played the style on a golfing holiday to Britain in 2001 and fell in love with it.
He also gives credit to a round he played with five-time champion Tom Watson at Royal Birkdale, also in northwest England.
“Talking to him about it, the more I’ve gotten to know him, he really loves this lifestyle,” he said. “I could have said I don’t like going to the British Open, I’ve missed three cuts there. I love coming over here, it’s just so different from what we get to do at home.”
Snedeker’s best finish at a major came at the 2008 Masters when he finished tied for third behind winner Trevor Immelman. He said he learned a lot from watching how Immelman handled the emotion of the situation.
And while he has the halfway lead at a major, Snedeker said he’s not taking anything for granted as he heads into the final two days.
“A great experience, but it gets you a lot of nothing,” he said. “As anyone can tell you, there’s been a lot of leads lost after 36 holes. I’m going to try and buck that trend this weekend.”