By James McCann
Brandt Snedeker played himself into the record books with an imperious display in the second round of the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.
The American’s round of 64 followed up a solid 66 on the first day of the tournament and meant he equalled the lowest ever 36-hole score in an Open Championship, set by Nick Faldo at Muirfield in 1992.
He’s now 5/1 to lift the Claret Jug on Sunday with Paddy Power’s online betting before he begins Saturday’s third round.
Perhaps more incredibly, Snedeker did not record a single bogey during his opening two rounds, and has yet to even land in a bunker.
The 31-year-old Tennessean admitted he was aware of not having made a bogey as he headed into the 18th hole, which perhaps explained his wayward drive, but a 10-foot putt saved his sixth par in succession and sent him into the clubhouse at 10-under.
That was not even on my radar coming into Thursday morning, I was just hoping to make the cut. I tried to just get the ball on the green all day, even if it was 100ft away.
One of Snedeker’s main challenges could come from Down Under, as Adam Scott followed up his own impressive 64 on Thursday with another solid round of 67 on the second day to move to 9-under.
Scott was born just five months before Snedeker and is another player who has regularly been in contention in major championships without delivering the goods, but is 3/1 to finally end this hoodoo by landing the 2012 Open.
If he wins, the Aussie ace will have caddie Steve Williams (formerely Tiger Woods’s bagman) to thank, after revealing that a pep talk from the New Zealander gave him the impetus to shoot his impressive first round score.
Steve wanted me to go to that first tee like it was the 72nd hole and really switch myself on. That was a good little trigger he kind of helped out with.
Williams famously caddied Woods to 13 of his 14 major victories and the pre-tournament favourite remains in contention after shooting a 3-under 67 to follow up his 67 on Thursday and move to six-under-par for the tournament ahead of Saturday’s round.
The stunning bunker shot Woods holed on the 18th on Friday evening will give him plenty of confidence that he can maintain his advantage over a chasing pack on 4-under that also includes 1999 Open winner Paul Lawrie and 2010 US Open champ Graeme McDowell, and register his fourth Open Championship victory.
Unlike the two men above him on the leaderboard, Woods knows exactly what it takes to win a Major and is now the tournament favourite with Paddy Power to make it number 15 come Sunday and move a step closer to Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18.