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 on Friday 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.
Snedeker sees the upside of his two second-place finishes: At least he’s giving himself a chance.
“That’s how you win out here,” he said. “You keep putting yourself in position, and the more times you do, the more success you’re going to have. ... I’m doing a better job this week of making my way around the golf courses and not putting myself in bad spots and getting out of tough situations very quickly.”
His goal for the last two days?
“Not do anything stupid,” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t do it very often.”
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.