PGA Tour

Can Snedeker sneak up on Heritage leader again?

Defending champ stands 6 shots back going into final round

ccox@islandpacket.comApril 15, 2012 

Brandt Snedeker isn't ready to call it deja vu just yet.

The Vanderbilt product entered the final round of last year's Heritage trailing leader Luke Donald by six strokes before rallying for a thrilling win in a playoff. Fast forward a year later to the newly-dubbed RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, and Snedeker once again trails by six strokes heading into the final day -- this time to Carl Pettersson.

"Ask me after the front nine gets over," he said. "If I shoot 30 on the front nine tomorrow, it will start to feel like deja vu again. I've got a long way to go."

Snedeker shot a 2-under-par 69 Saturday afternoon at Harbour Town Golf Links to pull into a fifth-place tie with Kevin Na and Robert Garrigus. The 31-year-old carded birdies on Nos. 2, 5, 12 and 15 and coupled it with just one slip-up -- a double bogey on No. 3. He has shot rounds of 71-67-69 heading into today.

"Today is probably the best day I've played of the three so far," he said. "I had a double, kind of killed me a little bit. I was able to survive that and came back and made some good birdies on the back nine."

Snedeker knows a thing or two about thrilling comebacks. In addition to his come-from-behind victory to claim the tartan jacket on Hilton Head Island a year ago, the Nashville, Tenn., native rallied from seven strokes back to claim the Farmers Insurance Open back in January. He was four shots behind Bluffton resident Kyle Stanley entering the final hole at Torrey Pines before knocking off the Clemson product in a playoff.

"I have a knack (on) Sunday coming from behind," he said. "I know Sundays are tough. ... And I feel like I'm rolling it the best I've rolled it all year, which gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. If I can hit some greens and get some momentum going, it should be a good day."

A collapse by the leader would fit with the norm of what has so far been a wacky year on the PGA Tour. Of the 15 tournaments played so far in 2012, only five golfers have claimed a victory after heading into the final round with a lead.

"There's too many guys out here that are really, really good at what they do," Snedeker said. "You're dealing with the pressure and your own emotions on Sunday, it's a very difficult thing to do. I think guys aren't afraid to go out and shoot a 63 or 64 on Sunday, and that's a good problem to have."

Pettersson, meanwhile, isn't concering himself with being caught over the final 18 holes.

"I think there's been a history of shooting low coming from behind," he said. "And hopefully that won't happen tomorrow. All I can do tomorrow is play my game and hopefully keep on playing the way I have and see what happens."

Pettersson may be hopeful, but forgive Snedeker if he's still optimistic about his odds.

"If I can go out and do what I did today, I like my chances," he said.

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