Lytham St. Annes, England – Brandt Snedeker fired a 6-under 64 on Friday to earn not just the second-round lead of The Open Championship, but also a place in the storied event's record book.
Snedeker matched The Open Championship 36-hole scoring record on Friday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes when he finished two rounds at 10-under 130. Nick Faldo established the original mark at Muirfield in 1992.
Perhaps even more impressive than his place in Open lore, is the fact that Snedeker has not made a single bogey through 36 holes. He is currently three ahead of first-round leader Adam Scott, who is 1-under through 10 holes.
"There's just so much golf left to go," Snedeker said in a televised interview.
It was a spectacular performance from Snedeker on Friday after an overnight rain drenched Royal Lytham. He netted six birdies, including five in a 7-hole span around the turn.
Scoring conditions were decent on Friday morning, but no one made a move like Snedeker.
World No. 1 Luke Donald shot a 2-under 68 and is in the clubhouse at 2-under 138. Steve Stricker (71) and Steven Alker (69) are also at minus-2.
Tiger Woods is 1-under and 4-under for the championship very early in his second round.
Rory McIlroy was in great shape until a double bogey at the ninth derailed his round at No. 9. He struggled to a 5-over 75 and completed two rounds at 2-over 142.
"I was playing pretty scrappy," said McIlroy. "I feel like I'm actually playing some good golf, hitting some good shots. It's just frustrating when you can't shoot the scores to reflect that. I've got another two days to try and play well."
Phil Mickelson won't have two days to try and get into the tournament. The 4- time major champion had three double bogeys, three bogeys and one birdie for an 8-over 78. He finished at plus-11 and will not be around on the weekend.
It's a shame Mickelson won't be here because he might miss quite an exhibition from Snedeker.
He flew out of the gate on Friday with a birdie at the par-3 first when he cut a 4-iron to 25 feet. Snedeker parred the next four, including one after a horrendous drive at the second.
At the sixth, Snedeker poured in a 40-footer for birdie to match Scott, who had yet to tee off, in the lead. He made it two in a row with a birdie at the par-5 seventh and was alone in first.
Snedeker hit a beautiful 9-iron inside three feet to set up an easy birdie at the par-3 ninth. He took a brief pause from making birdies with a par at 10, then sank a 25-foot birdie putt at 11.
Nine-under and three clear of Scott, Snedeker kept the momentum going at 12. He drained a 15-footer to get to 10-under par, but had a little hiccup at the last.
Snedeker drove into the tall fescue and hacked his second to 100 yards. He wedged his third close and saved par to keep that bogey-free streak intact.
"I love playing golf over here," Snedeker said on TV. "Even though my success has not been very good to say the least. I knew I was close."
Snedeker has missed the cut in all three of his previous Open Championship appearances. He does have some experience in the heat of a major championship.
At the 2008 Masters, Snedeker played in Sunday's final pairing with Trevor Immelman, two off the South African's lead. Snedeker, a 3-time PGA Tour winner, including this year's Farmers Insurance Open, shot a 77 and tied for third four years ago at Augusta, but learned a lot.
"I learned that no matter how much we talk about it, that we don't really care about it, we do care no matter what we put off," Snedeker said. "I realize that's a good thing. Embrace it and try and temper that as much as possible. I didn't realize how much I really wanted to win that tournament until time was over with.
"Going from that, to this, I know what to expect over the weekend. I know how I'm going to be amped up and ready to go and how much this means to me."