For American Brandt Snedeker, the second day of action at Royal Lytham & St Annes in north-west England was all about coming to terms with the experience of playing on a links golf course and avoiding the embarrassment of missing the cut, as he has in his past three Open appearances. At the end of the day though, Snedeker went several steps better, finishing the second day of the Open with a one shot lead over Thursday's leader, Australian Adam Scott.
Tiger Woods' birdie from a bunker on the 18th has put him right back into contention for the Open title, as Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott lead the cut field into the third day
Scott added to his course record-tying 64 from yesterday with a slightly less perfect three-under 67 to stay, for the moment, ahead of a slow and steady Tiger Woods. The Australian dropped shots at the fourth and sixth holes on his out from the clubhouse but responded with a stunning eagle on the 18th - the same hole that denied him a record round of 62 yesterday.
Meanwhile, at the top of the leaderboard, Snedeker's 64 - which, incidentally, means he joins Scott as course record holder - helped tie Nick Faldo's record of 130 for the lowest score after 36 holes, in tournament history. A relatively unheralded name going into the first day, the American is now a name to be reckoned with and tops the field for greens in regulation, with 31 from 36 flying straight and true off the tee.
Woods began Thursday with a sedate three-under 67, finding four birdies in the opening nine holes before dropping a shot on the 15th. The former world No 1 returned two under for the opening nine on Friday and remained cautious but consistent throughout the day, despite dropping a shot on the 11th. However, there was something missing... that trademark brilliance from Tiger was lacking and without it the grey clouds were beginning to hover over the Open, metaphorically speaking; particularly since other big names - Paul Lawrie, Ernie Els and Luke Donald - were all struggling to find any rhythm in poor weather. Lawrie returned undid his strong first day start (five-under 70) by running a shot over par on Friday. South African Els was similarly troubled, managing only an on-par 70 to add to his first day 67, while world No 1 Donald is tied for 11th with scores of 70 and 68.
Woods was in danger of joining the above three until he pulled out two shots in the last three holes, including a superb pull for a birdie, from a bunker, on the 18th. Woods is now six-under for the course, albeit four strokes behind a charged-up Snedeker.
"It wasn't as hard as it may have looked," Woods said, "I was on the up-slope. Because I was on the up-slope I could take out that steepness coming off the bunker and land the ball on the flat. So just threw it up there, and I played about a cup outside the left and it landed on my spot and rolled to the right."
The third day will start with Woods looking to consolidate and hopefully start attacking Scott and Snedeker. The three-time Open champion will need to change his style of play significantly if he is to reel in the two leaders. Incidentally, the Telegraph report notes Woods has now started with two rounds in the 60s as many as eight times in majors. On each of the previous seven occasions, Snedeker and Scott should be warned, he has gone on to win.
Meanwhile, world No 2 Rory McIloy will be keen on producing a much better third day's score, after slumping to an awful five-over 75 on Friday. Were it not for his 67 on Thursday, it may even be that he could have missed the second round cut.
Statistically, Snedeker could be the one to look out for... although not in a good way. Since his tie for third in the 2008 Masters (where he dropped off through the days, carding 69, 68, 70 and 77), he has hit been in the low 60s seven times. Unfortunately, he tends to follow those, hit usually in the first or second round, with a 68 or 69, meaning this could be Woods' window of opportunity.
Where to Watch Live:
TV: Watch the Open Championship live from 10 am BST to 12 pm BST and 12.10 pm BST to 6 pm BST on BBC One and BBC HD. Coverage continues on BBC Two and BBC HD from 6 pm BST to 8 pm BST.
Online: If your cable or satellite provider has the service, you can also useESPN3, which should also have an available replay.
Updates: You can also follow all the action here. If you're on the go and have no time to watch the Open, download the official 2012 Open Championship app for your iPhone, iPad or Android device to get mobile coverage. There is also the Open Championship scoreboard that provides you with all the latest updates.
Day Two Leaderboard (Top Five):
1. Snedeker, Bradnt (USA): -10 (66, 64)
2. Scott, Adam (AUS): -9 (64, 67)
3. Woods, Tiger (USA): -6 (67, 67)
4. Olesen, Thorbjorn (NOR): -5 (69, 66)
5. Lawrie, Paul (SCO): -4 (65, 71)
T5 Kuchar, Matt (USA): -4 (69, 67)
T5 McDowell, Graeme (ENG): -4 (67, 69)
T5 Dufner, Jason (USA): -4 (70, 66)
T5 Aiken, Thomas (RSA): -4 (68, 68)
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