British Open 2012 Leaderboard: Can Anyone Catch Brandt Snedeker?

Josh CohenCorrespondent IIJuly 20, 2012

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Brandt Snedeker of the United States waves after a birdie putt on the 12th green during the second round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club on July 20, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2012 British Open is still anyone's tournament, but no one will be able to beat Brandt Snedeker if he keeps playing like this.

In the second round at Royal Lytham, Snedeker improved on his already stellar play. He entered Friday in fifth place with a first-round score of 66, and just as Adam Scott did the day before, he tied the course record with a 64. Snedeker now finds himself way ahead of the pack with a score of -10.

As great players have floundered in their pursuit of the Claret Jug, the 26th-ranked player in the world has been a revelation. Snedeker has built his lead with remarkably consistent play that he should be able to replicate as he heads into the weekend.

Snedeker has yet to record an eagle thus far, but he also has not shot a single hole over par. Though his driving has left something to be desired, hitting just 60.7 percent of fairways thus far, he has been pinpoint accurate when he shoots at the green and once he's on it.

Over one long stretch, Snedeker hit 26 greens in a row, and he has hit 31 of 36 greens in regulation. Once he's on the putting surface, Snedeker has been just as brilliant, converting opportunities short and long as he charged up the board.

By getting himself within striking distance and converting his opportunities, Snedeker has not shot below par and has recorded 10 birdies, building himself a commanding lead.

Snedeker started off strong, birdieing the par-three first to improve to five under. He made par on each of the next four holes before catching fire on the sixth, shooting a three on the long, 492-yard par four to go on a tear. Over a seven-hole stretch from the sixth to the par-three 12th, Snedeker birdied five times, leaving former leader Adam Scott in the dust and jumping to minus-10 on the tournament.

As the pace of play slowed and the weather deteriorated into a soggy mess, Snedeker's play dropped off as well, which is to say he made par on each of the final six holes to finish the day at 10 under.

However, the worsening conditions proved to be a blessing in disguise for Snedeker, as contenders like Scott, Zach Johnson, and Tiger Woods have failed to make up any ground on a course much less forgiving than it was on Thursday.

Snedeker still has 36 holes to go before he can lift the Claret Jug, and his closest competitors have even more. With the lead he's built, however, the damage has been done. If Snedeker can keep up the consistency that has powered him to the top of the leaderboard, the Open Championship will be his for the taking.