By Andrew Both
GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III might qualify to play on next year's team if he maintains the form that vaulted him to within a stroke of the second-round clubhouse lead at the Wyndham Championship on Friday.
It is clearly way too premature to contemplate such a scenario, but finally healthy after spinal fusion surgery in 2013 and, more recently, foot surgery, Love is competitive again.
The 51-year-old, who won the event in 1992 and 1996 when it was held at nearby Forest Oaks Country Club, carded a four-under-par 66 on an ideal morning for low scoring.
That left him at 10-under 130, while fellow American Tom Hoge, a PGA Tour rookie, carded a 67 to set the pace at 11-under at Sedgefield.
Tiger Woods, who shot a promising 64 on Thursday in his first appearance in Greensboro, had a late Friday tee time.
"I missed a few fairways the last ten holes and made some nice putts for par and that felt good, but it was a little too dramatic," Love, a 20-times tour winner, told reporters.
"This is the best I’ve felt in a while and obviously the best I've played, so I just want to keep making progress."
He plans to continue playing the regular tour for at least another year, until the Ryder Cup in September 2016, so that he can keep an eye on the aspiring members of his team.
Brandt Snedeker, the 2007 Greensboro champion, was the last player to leave the range on Thursday after a mediocre 70, but the overtime paid quick dividends as he compiled nine birdies to tie the course record with a 61.
"It was definitely something I wasn't expecting on the range this morning but great to get it," said Snedeker, who credited a seven-foot for birdie at his second hole for setting the tone for his round. "Once I did that I was off to the races.”
Clubhouse leader Hoge started poorly, dropping two shots in his first five holes, but he was five-under the rest of the way.
Hoge is 133rd in the FedExCup standings, and needs a strong finish on Sunday to break into the top 125 and qualify for the four-event playoff series that starts next week.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)