Snedeker, Atwal share lead at Wyndham

Posted: 20/08/2010 in PGA

Snedeker ties Atwal for Wyndham lead

Former champion Brandt Snedeker carded a five-under 65 on Friday to tie Arjun Atwal for the 36-hole lead at the Wyndham Championship.

Atwal, the first-round leader, had a 67 to match Snedeker at 12-under 128.

They shared a one-shot lead over Lucas Glover, Kevin Streelman and John Rollins, who each posted rounds of 65 to finish 36 holes on the Sedgefield course at 11-under 129.

Webb Simpson (64) was another stroke further back at 10-under 130, while Justin Leonard (63), Tim Herron (64) and Boo Weekley (67) were knotted at 131.

Snedeker is guaranteed a spot in the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs — next week’s Barclays — which is reserved for the top 125 players on the points list.

He entered this week 45th in the standings. The fields for the last three playoff events are pared down weekly until there are only 30 players left for the Tour Championship.

Last year, only seven players ranked outside the top 30 on the points list at the beginning of the playoffs advanced all the way to the finale at the Tour Championship.

A victory this week would make Snedeker a virtual lock to go deep in the playoffs — it would also make him a two-timer at this event. He captured his only PGA Tour win at the 2007 Wyndham Championship when it was played at nearby Forest Oaks.

Snedeker had three birdies and an eagle at the par-five 15th, where he holed out from a greenside bunker. He has dropped only one shot in 36 holes, a closing bogey on Thursday that left him two shots off Atwal’s 18-hole lead.

“I seem to be playing my best golf come this time of year,” said Snedeker. “I don’t know if it’s I’m playing into form or see the finish line at the end of the year. Whatever it is, this time of year I play my best. Just feels comfortable here.”

One player who doesn’t have to worry about making the playoffs is Atwal, whose status on tour ran out when he didn’t make enough money playing on a medical exemption during his first eight starts this year.

Even if Atwal wins, he won’t get to play again until at least the Fall Series of events. He could play in Europe, where he still has status from a 2008 victory, but he would like to play stateside instead.

“I’ve asked for sponsor’s invites in the Fall Series, but I’m not getting any. So I’m going to Monday qualify every week and see how it goes,” he said. “My main goal is to play here.”

Still, Atwal could earn a two-year exemption by capturing his first tour title this week.

He mixed five birdies with two bogeys Friday, one day after matching the course record with a 61 to take the first-round lead.

“Obviously, I didn’t hit it as good as yesterday, but they say that it’s hard to back up a really low number with another one,” said Atwal. “I missed a couple of fairways today … That’s why I made a couple of bogeys. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with the way I played.”

Also on the table this late in the season is a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Among the hopeful players is Glover, who is basically auditioning to become one of Corey Pavin’s four captain’s picks.

Glover missed the cut at last week’s PGA Championship and dropped from No. 8 on the Ryder Cup points list to No. 10. The top eight players earned automatic spots on the team.

Now, the 2009 U.S. Open champion is trying to impress his way onto the team.

“There’s no added pressure,” said Glover. “Obviously, I know what I need to do and that’s play well … but Corey knows how bad I want to play and make the team and to do that, I’ve got to relax and play good golf and work hard and, you know, shoot good scores.”

Anthony Kim was also knocked from an automatic berth after missing the cut at the PGA. He dropped from No. 6 on the points list to No. 9 — last man out.

Not doing himself any favors, Kim missed the cut again this week by going 70-72 to end at two-over 142. He finished five shots above the minus-three cut line.

“I know I put the captain in a tough spot,” Kim said in a Golf Channel interview. “But I’ll get my game into shape the next two weeks and make it an easy decision for him.”

NOTES: Fred Couples skipped a Champions Tour major this week to play on the PGA Tour and missed the cut…2009 Wyndham champion Ryan Moore also missed the cut…So did Mike Weir, who entered the week 126th on the FedEx Cup points list…No. 125 on the list, Michael Letzig is at six-under par through two rounds.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

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