Under dark clouds,a bolt from the blue atop leaderboard

Little-known Brandt Snedeker thrives in gloomy conditions to take one-shot lead over Adam Scott

Written by Associated Press | Published:July 21, 2012 1:14 am

Amid all the wayward swings,Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott were steady as can be at the British Open. The challenge for Tiger Woods and the rest of the field: prevent this from turning into a two-man race on the weekend. Snedeker,a 31-year-old Tennessean who had never made the cut in golf’s oldest major,surged to the lead with another bogey-free round Friday,shooting a 6-under 64 that left him tied with Nick Faldo for the lowest 36-hole score in Open history.

Faldo posted a 130 total at Muirfield in 1992 — the lowest halfway total in any major,for that matter — on the way to the last of his three British titles. Snedeker matched him with a 10-under showing over the first two days,and can only hope that come Sunday he’ll be in the same position Faldo was two decades ago.

Overnight leader Adam Scott’s first-round lead was gone by the time he stepped on the course,but he didn’t wilt after seeing a new name atop the scoreboard. Instead,he turned it up on the back side,making three birdies capped by a 10-footer at the tough finishing hole,leaving him at 67 for the day and 131 overall.

Snedeker kept up his assault on the fairways,the key to navigating the claustrophobic layout at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He rapped in four birdies on the front side to make the turn with a 4-under 30. He rolled in a 25-footer for another birdie at the par-5 11th,then put his tee shot in the middle of the green on the par-3 12th and calmly sank the putt,his sixth birdie of the round. He’s got 10 of those over the first two days. Just as important,he has yet to make a bogey.

Woods,whose ex-caddie Steve Williams now works for Scott,got to 5 under with a couple of early birdies before some misadventures in the rough at the par-5 11th cost him a bogey. Coming down the stretch,he was six strokes off the lead ,still in contention but with a lot of work to do on the weekend in the renewed quest for his 15th major title.

Matt Kuchar (67) and Paul Lawrie (71) were in the clubhouse at 136. Among those still on the course,Graeme McDowell,Jason Dufner and Thomas Aiken joined Woods at 4 under. The group at 138 included No. 1-ranked Luke Donald and Steve Stricker. Rory McIlroy,who opened with a 67,knocked his ball onto an adjoining tee box at No. 3,needed a couple of whacks to escape a towering pot bunker on the ninth,and struggled to a 75 that left a daunting 10 strokes out of the lead.

Phil Mickelson,the runner-up last year at Royal St. George but never an Open champion,could’ve warmed up the jet before he even made the turn. Three double-bogeys led to a 78 and an 11-over 151 total. Nicolas Colsaerts was nearly as bad,going from contender to barely above the projected cutline at 142 total.

Luke Donald made four birdies in five holes on the front side,pushing him onto the leaderboard. But he ended with a 68,leaving him at least in the mix for his first major title.

Lahiri,Jeev make cut

Anirban Lahiri and Jeev Milkha Singh were poised to make the cut. Lahiri,in his major debut,added a 72 to his first 68 and was even par for 36 holes,while Jeev added a 71 to his first round 70 and was one-over 141 for two days.

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