Snedeker: They've never heard of me in America either!

Laidback leader hails from Elvis country – but will he get caught in a trap over the weekend?

Royal Lytham

OK, so just who the heck is Brandt Snedeker? Alex Noren and Marc Leishman certainly know better than most after playing with him for two days and witnessing up close his bogey-free Lytham masterclass. Mind you, some might say who the heck are Alex Noren and Marc Leishman. But that's another story. Snedeker hails from Nashville, the home of country music in Elvis Presley's state of Tennessee. Those chasing Snedeker will be hoping he gets caught in a trap, and can't get out and checks into Heartbreak Hotel over the weekend.

But don't bet on it. The 31-year-old might look like a laid-back surfer dude with his long blond locks but he has the deep-set street-fighting eyes of a Hell's Angel. And he putts like Tom Watson in his prime. Looks like him, too. Which is slightly weird as Watson, five times the Open champion, is his hero.

"I'm trying to emulate him," Snedeker said after his six-under-par second-round 64. "I would like to be like him. But he's one of the best ball strikers of all time and I'm not. We both hole a lot of putts, though." Which is precisely how Snedeker finds himself in his lofty position.

Snedeker laughed when told that most British golf fans will have no idea who he is. "A lot of Americans will be asking, too," he said. "I bet everybody here is in as much shock as I am. I know my place on the totem pole. I'm pretty happy-go-lucky. People think I'm emotional but anyone will tell you I'm probably the most level-headed guy playing golf." People think he's emotional because he broke down and cried after imploding with a final-round 77 at the 2008 Masters and finished third to champion Trevor Immelman.

Snedeker is 6ft 1in tall and built like a two-iron. In this age plagued by slow play, he hits it fast and talks faster. He speaks with the rat-a-tat of a machine-gun blast in a squeaky voice that sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk. He, like Watson, has embraced the Open atmosphere and he has been hanging out in the pubs of Lytham and St Annes sampling the local beer. "I enjoy them," he said. "But I've not been out late. Apart from Monday," he added with a grin. Snedeker appears a little goofy but the son of an attorney is also smarter than he projects. He's a likable, down-to-earth family man with a new baby. He's normal. And that's a good thing.

He's not a nobody on the US Tour. But neither is he a somebody despite winning three times, the most recent of which was the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, the course where Tiger Woods won his last major at the 2008 US Open. Along with a $1m cheque, there was a rumour he also won a combine harvester. "I don't know where everybody is getting this," he said. "I have not won a harvester, and don't need one, don't plan on buying one ever," he said busting the myth to much laughter. "I won a surfboard in San Diego which will never see water." You see, he really isn't a surf dude.

Mind, you he does seem accident-prone. He has broken a collarbone, had hip surgery twice and had to withdraw from the US Open last month after he sneezed and cracked a rib. If Snedeker doesn't succumb to a bout of hay fever out on the links, his rivals will be hoping for a more conventional meltdown and that, by Sunday evening, Nashville's country music charts will have another hit record. "My Dog Just Died, My Wife's Left Me And I Blew The 36-Hole Lead At The Open."

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