PGA TOUR star Brandt Snedeker has made his presence felt on day two of the Fiji International, the Ryder Cup hero firing a best of the day 65 to enter the weekend just one shot out of the lead.
Snedeker, who left Hazeltine Sunday night with a perfect three from three record in the historic US victory, signed for five birdies and an eagle at the Natadola Bay course to get to 10-under-par through 36 holes.
He trails Sydney’s Matthew Giles by a single stroke after the former Web.com Tour player added a 6-under 66 to a first round 67 to be 11-under with two rounds to play.
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Overnight leader Anthony Houston is also at 10-under alongside Snedeker after backing up his opening 65 with a solid 3-under round.
Jake Higginbottom is outright fourth at 8-under.
But it is Snedeker who has all eyes on him after he took advantage of an early morning tee time and benign conditions over his first nine holes to race up the standings.
The eight-time PGA Tour winner birdied his first hole of the day, the 10th, and picked up two more strokes to the turn.
“I told myself going out this morning anything 5-under or better would probably put me right where I want to be,” he said after his round.
“To go out and shoot 7…I don’t have the lead but I’m only one back and comfortable with where I am.
“I didn’t make a whole lot on the front nine but back nine I made a few putts, made eagle on the second par-5 on the front which was nice.
“I didn’t make a bogey which any time you do that you’re doing something right.”
Snedeker said he didn’t feel any added pressure courtesy of being the highest ranked player in the field.
“There’s lots of quality players here,” he said. “I’ve played against a bunch of these guys my whole life and its actually been fun to see a bunch of guys I haven’t seen in a while.
“You have to bring your ‘A’ game every week no matter where you play in the world.”
While it’s no surprise to see Snedeker at the pointy end of the leaderboard leader Matt Giles’ play has been less expected as he has elected to study in Australia in 2016 rather than pursue an international schedule.
The 27-year-old attended college in the US before spending a year playing the secondary US Tour in 2011 but has struggled to find a full time place to play internationally since.
"I've been doing a Masters of Commerce at the University of Sydney. I just wanted to do something in addition to golf," said Giles after his second round.
"Obviously I've got my status here in Australia and I still plan on playing all the bigger events but our schedule is fairly spread out throughout the year.
"You've got events at the start of the year and events and the end. Then you've got that mid point where unless you're travelling overseas you can do other things, so I just wanted to do some academic stuff."
Giles’ play Friday was far from that of a part time golfer, a hole out eagle at the par-4 8th the highlight amongst seven birdies and three bogies.
“I hit a few wayward shots but managed to limit the damage,” he said.
“Depending on the wind there are holes that definitely offer birdie chances for you but at the same time there are holes where you just want to make your par and get out.
“I’ve been playing pretty conservatively off the tee just to try to keep the ball in play and my short game’s been really good, probably the best part so far.”
There are 10 players within five shots of the lead, veteran Stephen Leaney and New Zealand Open winner Matthew Griffin among them.
Tournament drawcard Boo Weekley fired a second round 72 to be 3-under for the week and T20 heading to the weekend.
PLAYER PROFILE JIIMMY WALKER: