Snedeker in Contention for Third Straight Week
Dustin Johnson, left, reaches to catch a ball beside hockey great Wayne Gretzky on the 16th green of the Spyglass Hill Golf Course during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Pebble Beach, Calif. — Brandt Snedeker goes into the weekend at Pebble Beach with another chance to win, this time without golf’s biggest stars in his way.
Snedeker played bogey-free at tough Spyglass Hill yesterday for a 4-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with Ted Potter Jr. in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Potter three-putted his final hole at Monterey Peninsula for a 67.
Hunter Mahan was among those one shot behind. With one more round before everyone has played all three courses in the rotation, the leaderboard was a big traffic jam. Three dozen players were within five shots of the lead.
Snedeker, who was at 8-under 134, felt he was at an advantage because he goes to Pebble Beach for the final two rounds.
And there’s one other edge for his psyche — Tiger Woods isn’t playing, and defending champion Phil Mickelson is six shots behind.
Snedeker has played so well this year that he is leading the FedEx Cup standings without having won. He was runner-up the last two weeks — four shots behind Woods at Torrey Pines, and then four shots behind Mickelson in the Phoenix Open.
“Keep running into guys who are or who are going to be in the Hall of Fame,” Snedeker said at the start of the week.
Mickelson, going after a record-tying fifth win in the event, was easing his way into contention until he made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch along the ocean at Spyglass Hill for a 71.
Snedeker made it look easy at Spyglass, even though the day began in rugged conditions with a light rain and temperatures in the low 40s. He hit a towering 8-iron on the downhill, par-3 12th hole that plopped 3 feet next to the cup for his first birdie. He added a pair of simple up-and-down birdies on the par 5s and then closed out a solid day with an 8-iron to 5 feet on the eighth hole.
Potter remains somewhat of a mystery. He won last year in his rookie season at The Greenbrier Classic to claim a peculiar footnote in history — the only player to win a PGA Tour event in which Woods and Mickelson missed the cut. Still, his performance has been spotty. Potter missed nine out of the 12 cuts going into The Greenbrier, and then missed four out of nine cuts after his win.
Today’s forecast is for more sunshine, giving those in the Northeast who are snowed in some pretty pictures on television. Snedeker is part of the celebrity rotation, meaning he will join the circus — Bill Murray, Ray Romano and the rest of their Hollywood crew, along with star power from other sports such as Tony Romo, Matt Cain and even San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
Five days after a Super Bowl loss, Harbaugh had reason to smile. He was leading the pro-am portion of the tournament. Harbaugh is playing with Jason Day of Australia, who made a late string of birdies for a 68 at Spyglass Hill and was two shots behind.
Two Tied for Champions Lead
Boca Raton, Fla. — Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice Jr. each shot 6-under 66 to tie for the first-round lead at the Allianz Championship on Friday.
Langer, who holed out a bunker shot to win here in a playoff in 2010, birdied three of the last four holes at Broken Sound.
Pernice was even through eight holes, but played the next six holes in six-under, including an eagle at No. 5 when he holed a pitching wedge from 128 yards.
, to charge into contention.
Defending champion Corey Pavin, Roger Chapman, Fred Funk, Scott Simpson and two players making their Champions Tour debuts — Rocco Mediate and Bart Bryant — were a shot back after 67s.