Monday, February 19, 2018
Golf

Brandt Snedeker takes lead at British Open with record-tying score

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England — Brandt Snedeker plays fast and talks even faster, and he was on a roll Friday in the British Open. He raced up the leaderboard with five birdies in a seven-hole stretch, tied the 36-hole record for a major championship and looked like he was bent on running away from the field at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

Not so fast.

Along came first-round leader Adam Scott, playing cautiously and picking his spots for three birdies on the back nine to finish the second round one shot off the lead. Four shots back was Tiger Woods, sticking to a conservative game plan and delivering a dramatic finish by holing out from the bunker at No. 18 to set off a wild cheer from 6,000 spectators crammed into the bleachers.

On another benign weather day when the only concern was pools forming in the bottom of pot bunkers from overnight rain, Snedeker became the latest player to match the course record with a 6-under 64.

The Nashville native didn't make a bogey over 36 holes, the first player to go bogey-free in a major's first two rounds since Woods won the Open at St. Andrews in 2000.

Snedeker's 10-under 130 tied the 36-hole record set by Nick Faldo in 1992 when he won the Open at Muirfield, and it broke by four shots the 36-hole record at Royal Lytham. Even more impressive was that Snedeker didn't hit into any of the 206 bunkers in two days.

"I'm sure everybody in this (post-round news conference) is in about as much shock as I am right now," quipped Snedeker, 31, who had missed the cut in his three previous Open appearances. "I'm not by any means hitting it on all cylinders. I'm making every 25-footer I look at, so that makes it a lot easier."

Snedeker is a well-established threat. He was the PGA Tour's rookie of the year in 2007. In 2008 he made a run at the Masters, finishing third. Snedeker broke down in tears after the final round, burying his head in a towel during a news conference.

That got a lot of sympathetic mail sent his way. Snedeker said Friday it felt like that happened a long time ago. "I've lost a lot since then, gotten used to it."

He has won three times on the tour, including at the Farmers Insurance Open in January at San Diego. He has also been a consistent top-20 finisher at majors, though he missed this year's U.S. Open when he broke a rib while coughing.

"Thank you for laughing, whoever that was," he said after explaining the injury's source.

Scott, who had 64 on Thursday, finished with 3-under 67 and has never been in such good shape at a major going into the weekend. Woods had his second straight 67, the eighth time he opened a major with two rounds in the 60s. He went on to win the seven previous times, including all three of his British Open titles.

"I figured I had a game plan that I thought would fit well on this golf course, and I figured I could execute it," Woods said. "And I've done that so far."

The cut was 3-over 143, the 13-shot separation speaking to how well Snedeker played. Phil Mickelson never had a chance, taking three double bogeys for 78 to end his streak of 18 consecutive cuts in the majors that dated to the British Open at Carnoustie five years ago.

Tom Watson, 62, extended his record as the oldest player to make the weekend since the Open went to a 36-hole cut by holing a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Comments

Dustin Johnson, Ted Potter Jr. tied for lead at Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Dustin Johnson overcame a sloppy back nine in the stiffening breeze by making a 10-foot birdie on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach for 2-under 70 that gave him a share of the lead going into the final round of the Pebble Beach Nat...
Published: 02/10/18
Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship? Maybe

PALM HARBOR — Every year at this time, Valspar Championship officials release a list of players committed to the tournament, those likely to commit and those who have not definitively said no. For the first time since it became a PGA Tour event in 20...
Published: 02/08/18
Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

Gary Woodland rallies to win Phoenix Open in playoff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gary Woodland was surprised to see infant son Jaxson with wife Gabby late Sunday afternoon at the Phoenix Open. "My wife kind of surprised me with him," Woodland said. "I didn’t think he was going to be there. I thought it would j...
Updated one month ago
Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

Record crowd watches Rickie Fowler take Phoenix Open lead

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler birdied the last three holes in front of the largest crowd in golf history Saturday to take the lead in the Phoenix Open. Fowler shot 4-under 67 to reach 14 under with a round left at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course,...
Updated one month ago
Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

Fowler back in contention in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler took a share of the lead into the weekend in the Phoenix Open. He knows from experience the party is just getting started. "Just keep the gas pedal down," Fowler said. Fowler has had a lot of success at TPC Scottsdal...
Updated one month ago

Bill Haas takes first-round lead at PGA’s Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bill Haas’ 9-iron landed to the right of the pin and spun left, settling 3 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th in the Phoenix Open. "I just tried to play the hole like I would any other hole, even though it’s not like any other...
Updated one month ago
Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

Jason Day wins playoff at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — Jason Day calmly sank an 18-inch birdie putt at 8:17 a.m. Monday in front of empty grandstands on No. 18 at Torrey Pines for his first PGA Tour win in 20 months. There were no roars, just cheers from Day’s family and a handful of mates. I...
Updated one month ago

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome defends title at Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Brittany Lincicome beat darkness — with help from floodlights Sunday on the Ocean Club’s 18th green — to win the Bahamas LPGA Classic for the second straight year. The Seminole resident birdied the final two holes and four ...
Updated one month ago

Nine-time European champion Alex Noren takes lead at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO — A nine-time winner on the European Tour, Alex Noren of Sweden gave himself a chance to make his mark in America with 3-under 69 Saturday for a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Noren finished strong, ...
Updated one month ago
Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

Ryan Palmer leads Farmers Insurance Open; Tiger Woods barely makes cut

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Palmer is the 36-hole leader in the Farmers Insurance Open. Jon Rahm is right behind, poised to reach No. 1 in the world. And for the first time in 29 months, a PGA Tour event will feature Tiger Woods on the weekend. Palmer finished ...
Updated one month ago