Feb 8 (Reuters) - FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, the hottest player on the PGA Tour this year, took advantage of ideal scoring conditions by charging into a share of the second-round lead at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Friday.
The fast-talking American fired a flawless four-under-par 68 on a glorious sun-splashed afternoon at Spyglass Hill, one of three venues being used for this week’s pro-am celebrity event, to post an eight-under total of 134.
Snedeker, who has recorded three top-three finishes in his first four starts on the 2013 PGA Tour, made two birdies on each nine to end the day level with compatriot Ted Potter Jr., who carded a three-under 67 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Swede Fredrik Jacobson, helped by five birdies in his first nine holes, was a further stroke back at seven-under 137 after shooting a six-under 66 on the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Also at seven under were Americans Hunter Mahan (69) and John Merrick (67), who both played at Monterey Peninsula, and PGA Tour rookie Patrick Reed, after a 69 at Pebble Beach.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson made three early birdies to close in on the leaders but was left feeling frustrated after dropping three shots after the turn for a 71 at Spyglass Hill.
“I had a good round going here at Spyglass and I turned a 66 into a 71,” world number 10 Mickelson told reporters after ending the day at two-under 140, six off the pace.
“Tomorrow, I’ve got to finish off. I play a good round tomorrow, I feel like I‘m not far off. Hopefully I will put myself in position where a good round on Sunday will get it done.”
Mickelson, who clinched his 41st PGA Tour title by four shots at last week’s Phoenix Open, is bidding for a fifth victory at Pebble Beach which has long been one of his favourite venues.
“Gosh, it’s so much fun having a chance to win here,” the American left-hander smiled. “But I’ve got to finish off the round tomorrow and see if I can get something in the mid-sixties, and be ready for Sunday.”
Britain’s former world number one Lee Westwood, playing his first PGA Tour event of the year, was at four under after carding a 70 at Monterey Peninsula.
Triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland was at one under after a 71 at Pebble Beach, a stroke better than U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson who shot a 71 at Spyglass Hill. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)