(Reuters) - Brandt Snedeker fired a seven-under-par 65 on Friday to surge to a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the Safeway Open in Napa, California.
Snedeker, who was forced to be a spectator of the season-ending Tour Championship as well as last week's Ryder Cup, made eight birdies on the day which included his last two holes.
He sits at 13-under at the PGA Tour's season-opening event, three clear of Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and Michael Thompson.
Snedeker was ignited by playing alongside 59-year-old Fred Couples who also shot a 65.
"It’s always fun to play with Freddy,” Snedeker told reporters. "I don’t get to see him enough.
"When I made the turn, as good as I played, I was still tied with Freddy, and there was no way some 59-year-old guy who's semi-retired is going to come out here and whip my tail. We kind of spurred each other on today and had a great time, and we saw a bunch of putts go in, which is nice."
Mickelson followed up his unexpectedly strong opening round with a 69, despite a rough start. The 48-year-old bogeyed three of his opening eight holes, but finished strong by birdieing five of his final 10 holes.
Moore was spurred along by a hot putter.
"I've been liking how (the ball has) been rolling and it’s nice that it’s continued to go in,” Moore said. "I was struggling with putting most of last season and I spent a little bit working on it." First round leader Sepp Straka of Austria remained at nine-under following an even-par 72.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)