By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 18/08/18 12:02am
Brandt Snedeker produced a spirited comeback on the back nine to retain a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Wyndham Championship.
A day after recording only the ninth score of 59 in PGA Tour history, Snedeker struggled to hit the heights of his first round and was one over for the day at the turn before recovering to salvage a 67 and close on 14 under par.
Snedeker mixed two birdies with a pair of bogeys over an inconsistent first five holes, and he got into further trouble on the ninth and dropped another shot to complete an outward 37 – 10 shots more than he needed to play the front nine on Thursday.
But the American settled himself with a good putt for birdie at the 11th, and he reclaimed the outright lead when he holed from 30 feet for an eagle at the long 15th before nailing another from similar range for birdie on the next green.
Snedeker’s magical 59
Highlights of Brandt Snedeker’s stunning opening round as he became only the ninth man to break 60.
After a par at 17, Snedeker did well to get up-and-down from the greenside rough at the last to ensure he would head into the weekend with a two-shot advantage over DA Points, who belied his miserable run of results this year as he matched his opening 64 to reach 12 under.
Points has missed the halfway cut 15 times in his 18 starts since the turn of the year, but he gave himself a shot at an unlikely fourth win on the PGA Tour as he kept a bogey off his card while making four birdies and an eagle at the fifth, where he holed out from a greenside bunker.
A revitalised Sergio Garcia also made a significant move on day two at Sedgefield Country Club as he maintained his challenge for the top-20 finish he needs to avoid missing the FedExCup Play-Offs for the first time.
The Spaniard, who has failed to make the weekend in seven of his last nine PGA Tour events, opened with five solid pars before igniting his round with three birdies in four holes from the sixth.
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Last year’s Masters champion blotted his card at the 10th, but he rebounded with a classy eagle at 15 and converted from just inside 10 feet for birdie at the short 16th before parring in to return a 65 which got him within five shots of the leader.
Garcia’s encouraging form is good news for European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn as he considers his four wildcard picks for next month’s showdown, and Henrik Stenson enhanced his hopes of a call-up after carding a solid 65 to move to seven under.
The defending champion birdied the final two holes on Thursday to salvage a 68, and he took that momentum into the second round as he carded six birdies and just one blemish in a round which revived his hopes of retaining his title.
Bjorn’s Ryder Cup counterpart, Jim Furyk, proved that he can still compete on the PGA Tour as he added a 68 to his opening 65 to join Stenson in a share of 15th place.
Graeme McDowell needed a 67 to be sure of making the halfway cut, and the former US Open champion did just that as he made it through to the weekend with nothing to spare, although he made it tough for himself after dropping shots at two of his last four holes.
But Ireland’s Shane Lowry will lose his PGA Tour playing rights after a pair of disappointing 69s proved one too many to extend his tournament, and his season, as he missed two putts from six feet on his last two holes.
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