Snedeker leads British Open by one as Scott and Woods lead chase

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jul 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-20 18:09:52-04
(CNN) — Brandt Snedeker leads the British Open after Friday’s eventful second round. The American matched Adam Scott’s incredible opening round of 64 to hold a one stroke lead over the Australian.

Tiger Woods was a further three strokes behind on six under par. The 14 time major winner ended his round with a birdie after hitting a tremendous chip shot out of the bunker on the 18th.

Snedeker’s impressive five under par opening round was overshadowed by Scott’s record breaking first day. However, the Nashville native leapfrogged his rival with a near faultless second round, and is now the only player in the competition who has not dropped a shot.

Snedeker also matched Nick Faldo’s long standing half-way record score of 130 – which has gone unbroken since 1992.

“I’m in shock right now,” the world number 29 told the British Open website.

“I feel pretty good not to have dropped a shot so far this week and am proud to tie the Championship 36-hole record.

“All I’m trying to do is to hit the middle of the greens and not get in any trouble.”

Woods, who has failed to add to his 14 majors since winning the 2008 U.S. Open, dropped a stroke with a bogey at the 11th, but stayed in contention with four birdies. His sumptuous chip on the final hole had the crowd cheering, but Woods claimed the shot “wasn’t as hard as it may have looked.”

“Overall I’m very pleased at where I’m at – I’m right there in the mix,” the three time British Open winner said. “I figured I had a game plan that I thought would fit well on this golf course and I figured I could execute it.

“It’s just patience on a golf course like this. I’m hitting the ball in the fairway. You can take your chances, but you’d better pull it off or be conservative and play to different spots.”

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen was one shot behind Woods, with 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Americans Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchner one shot behind on four under par.

Current world number one Luke Donald rescued his championship with a roller coaster round that ended with the Englishman two under par. Donald opened with a bogey at the third, but regained his form with four birdies that put the current European golfer of the year back in contention. A further two bogeys at the start of the back nine looked to have ended the comeback but a birdie at the 15th meant Donald finished tied for 11th.

“I’m certainly feeling more comfortable,” Donald said at the end of his faltering round.

“Obviously, where I am in my career I need to be contending,” said Donald, whose best finish at a major is third.

World number two Rory McIlroy struggled to find his game as he struggled to a 75, leaving him two over par and little to play for with the final two rounds. A double on the ninth looked to be the turning point for the Northern Irishman, who admitted “it wasn’t the best day out there.”

“I was doing pretty well just to hang on in there around par on the front nine. Making a double on the ninth was sort of the turning point in the round and I couldn’t really recover from that,” said the 2011 U.S. Open champion.

There will be some notable absentees from the weekend’s action, with reigning British Open champion Darren Clarke one of those heading home. American Phil Mickelson, a four time major winner, former world number one Martin Kaymer and three time Ryder Cup winner Sergio Garcia also missed the cut.

Northern Irishman Clarke admitted he was “disappointed” with his defense of the title won at Royal St. George last year.

“I would have liked to have come here and put up a good score in defense,” said Clarke.

American Mickelson, who has spent over 700 weeks ranked inside golf’s top ten, struck three double bogeys and three bogeys as he carded a round of 78.

“I hit it solid but I didn’t hit it straight, and I found a lot of bunkers off the tee,” Mickelson complained.

“I thought I was going to have a little bit of a better round than I did.”

Play continues on Saturday, with the concluding round on Sunday.

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