Greensboro: Arjun Atwal followed up his opening-round 61 with a three-under 67 Friday to assume a share of the lead at the halfway point of the Wyndham Championship.
The Indian was tied with American Brandt Snedeker (65) at 12-under 128, one stroke ahead of Americans Lucas Glover, John Rollins and Kevin Streelman on a day that dawned cloudy but soon gave way to brilliant sunshine.
“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, who picked up four birdies on the front nine, before playing the back nine in a pedestrian one-over.
“I missed a couple of fairways today. That’s why I made a couple of bogeys (but) other than that I’m pretty happy.”
Atwal, 37, does not have exempt status on tour, so the quickest way to regain his card is by winning.
“I’m going to definitely be thinking about winning,” he said. “If I get in contention on the back nine on Sunday, I won’t be scared. Hopefully my swing holds up.”
Co-leader Snedeker won in Greensboro three years ago, the final year the tournament was held at Forest Oaks before moving to its current venue at Sedgefield Country Club.
“The courses are different (but) they’re the same kind of grass and greens, very similar to what I grew up on,” said the 29-year-old Tennessean.
“The only thing off today was my putting. I missed four putts inside eight feet, which is very unlike me. Besides that I played fantastic.”
Snedeker was not the only player who had trouble adjusting to the extremely slow greens, although they were not quite as heavy for Friday’s second round as they were the previous day.
Glover improved his position with a 65. The clock is ticking for last year’s U.S. Open champion to impress Corey Pavin enough to earn a captain’s pick on the American team to defend the Ryder Cup against Europe in October.
“Corey knows how bad I want to play and make the team and to do that I have got to relax and play golf and shoot good scores,” said Glover.
“If I play good the next three weeks and prove to him that I’m playing well, then I feel like the year-and-a-half I’ve had, I’ll make it.”
Glover narrowly failed to be among the eight players who made the team automatically, finishing 10th in the final standings last week.
Anthony Kim, who barely failed to make the team after finishing ninth in the standings, did not help his cause for a captain’s pick when he missed the cut, which fell at three-under 137.
Kim, who missed the cut by five strokes, described his performance as “borderline embarrassing.”
Others to bow out early included Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Mike Weir and last year’s champion, Ryan Moore.
Weir’s early exit means he has no chance of qualifying for the Fed Ex Cup play-offs that start next week. The top 125 players on a points list are eligible but the Canadian is ranked 126th.