NATADOLA, Fiji (AP) — Brandt Snedeker eagled the par-5 sixth hole and shot a 7-under 65 on Friday in the windy Fiji International to climb the Australian-dominated leaderboard.
Coming off the United States’ Ryder Cup victory Sunday in Minnesota, Snedeker was a stroke behind leader Matthew Giles after two rounds at Vijay Singh-designed Natadola Bay.
“It’s going to be two more tough days,” Snedeker said. “There’s a lot of wind we’re meant to be having this weekend and this golf course can jump up and bite you really quick, so hopefully I can steer away from big numbers and keep playing the way I am.”
Giles had a 66 to reach 11 under in the event sanctioned by European, Australasian and Asian tours. One of eight Australians in the top 10, he eagled the par-4 eighth and had seven birdies and three bogeys. The 27-year-old Australian was looking forward to playing alongside Snedeker.
“It’ll be good, it’s why we’re here, it’s why we play,” Giles said. “It’s great that he’s out here and promoting the event.”
Snedeker added five birdies in a bogey-free round. He has gone 34 without a bogey after dropping a stroke on the second hole Thursday.
“I had another really good day,” Snedeker said. “I drove the ball fantastic and had a lot of opportunities. … I didn’t make a bogey, each time you do that you’re doing something right so hopefully I can build on this tomorrow.
First-round leader Anthony Houston also was 10 under after a 69.
“I’ve learned that you can’t get carried away and just expect to do it again,” Houston said. “So, I just hit the tee shot and hit the second shot and just kept going from there.”
Jake Higginbottom (70) was 8 under, Aaron Pike (70) followed at 7 under, and Matthew Griffin (70), Brett Rankin (69), Aaron Wilkin (71) and South Korea’s Hur Inhio (67) were 6 under.
New Zealand’s Garetg Paddison had the best round of the week, a 64 to get to 4 under.
Boo Weekley was 3 under after a 72, and fellow American Heath Slocum another shot back after a 73.
Singh was 1 over after a 75. The 53-year-old Fijian is a three-time major champion.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing,” Singh said. “I’m striking it well.”