Napa, Calif. — Brandt Snedeker birdied the final two holes for a 7-under 65 and a three-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson and two others Friday in the PGA Tour’s season-opening Safeway Open.
Playing alongside Hall of Famer Fred Couples, Snedeker had eight birdies and a bogey on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa. The leader won the Wyndham Championship in August, opening with a 59 en route to his ninth PGA Tour title.
“I played really solid golf all the way around,” Snedeker said. “I only played two bad shots all day. My speed has been great for two days. These green can get away from you if you’re not paying attention.”
Snedeker had a 12-under 132 total
Mickelson followed his opening 65 with a 69 to join Michael Thompson (65) and Ryan Moore (67) at 10 under.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Mickelson said. “It’s certainly turning from pessimistic because I didn’t think that I was going to be here on the weekend and the next thing you know I’m up on top of the leaderboard.”
A week after going 0-2 in United States’ Ryder Cup loss to Europe in France, the 48-year-old Mickelson bogeyed three of his first eight holes, and rallied with four birdies on his second nine.
“I shot 4 under to kind of salvage the round,” Mickelson. “I’m surprised. I’m hitting a lot of good shots. I didn’t expect that. What I am doing well is putting, like I can putt.”
Moore won the last of his five PGA Tour titles in 2016.
“I feel like the seasons I’ve played really well I’ve kind of come out with a good start here,” Moore said. “I need a good start. I need something to kind of solidify my schedule for next year or else you’re just kind of floating around in between.”
Thompson’s lone PGA Tour victory came in the 2013 Honda Classic.
First-round leader Sepp Straka followed his opening 63 with a 72 to drop into a tie for fifth at 9 under with Kevin Tway (67) and Sungjae Im (69).
“I really didn’t hit the ball very well today,” Straka said. “Yesterday I wasn’t flawless. I kept the ball in the right spots. I didn’t do that today. I short-sided myself a lot.”
Ricky Barnes matched the course record with a 61 to get to 8 under.
The 49-year-old Couples matched Snedeker with a 65 to reach 7 under. Playing on a sponsor exemption, he plans to make the tournament his last PGA Tour event other than the Masters.
Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland) shot back-to-back 70s to get to 4 under and make the cut.
Mark Mulder, the former major league pitcher and Michigan State standout, and Petoskey's Joey Garber were playing in their first PGA Tour event, but both missed the cut with a 5-over 149.
With a typhoon approaching and rain falling, Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda had plenty of opposition to overcome on the second day of the UL International Crown in Incheon, South Korea.
And overcome it they did.
Wie and Korda led the way as the United States won both fourball matches against Thailand to move to the top of Pool B in the eight-nation tournament.
“It was tough out there,” Wie said. “It was cold, it was raining. It was not ideal temperature … but it turned out pretty well.”
Organizers tried to complete two rounds on Friday because of the approaching Typhoon Kong-rey, but play ended in the middle of the third because of the conditions.
Wie and Korda bounced back from Thursday’s loss to Sweden by defeating Moriya Jutanugarn and Pornanong Phatlum 6-and-4. Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson made it two wins in a row with a 4-and-3 victory over Ariya Jutanugarn and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong.
The two victories at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, 25 miles west of Seoul, give the defending champions six points. Sweden is next with four points while Japan and Thailand have three each.
Andrea Pavan shot 9-under 63 at Kingsbarns to share the lead with Lucas Bjerregaard after two rounds of the Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Two-time defending champion Tyrrell Hatton was among those a stroke back after taming Carnoustie in the multi-course event.
Pavan rolled in a four-foot putt at his last hole for a ninth birdie of the day and the joint-low round of the week in Scotland.
Like Pavan, Bjerregaard didn’t drop a shot in his 65 on the same course, maintaining the Dane’s strong form after four straight top-20 finishes on the European Tour. They were on 9-under overall.
Hatton backed up a first-round 70 at Kingsbarns with a 6-under 66 at Carnoustie, which is regarded as the toughest of the three courses that stage the tournament.