On a roll: Snedeker rips off seven straight birdies, takes lead at BMW ChampionshipSeptember 12, 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Truth be told, Brandt Snedeker didn't feel that comfortable with the putter as he prepared for the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday.
The 14-footer Snedeker made from off the fringe at the 13th hole, his fourth of the day, changed everything, though.
Snedeker went on to reel off seven straight birdies on his way to a 63 that gave him sole possession of the lead at Conway Farms Golf Club. The round of 8 under was the fifth 63 of his career, the most recent coming on Saturday at the RBC Canadian Open which he went on to win.
The birdie streak was the longest on TOUR since Louis Oosthuizen made seven in the third round of the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship. The PGA TOUR mark for consecutive birdies is nine straight set by Mark Calcavecchia in the second round of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.
"You get on runs like that, you get excited for the next hole because you know something good is going to happen because you're in such a good frame of mind and everything is going in the right direction," Snedeker said.
Snedeker ended up using just 22 putts, first in the field, and was second in strokes-gained putting at 3.597. The reigning FedExCup champ is one of the best putters in the game, and the affable Tennessean knows what to do when he seizes some momentum on the green.
"I try and put the pedal down," he said. "When I get going good, I realize it doesn't happen all the time, so I instantly become more aggressive. I think being a good putter helps, too, because I don't really have to hit it three feet eight times in a row. Just got to hit the green sometimes and it's going to happen. I think that helps a lot, too.
"I realize these runs are few and far between, so when I get on one, I try to run as hard as I can for as long as I can."
Steve Stricker, who played with Snedeker and shot a 66, was suitably impressed.
"Watching Snedeker pouring it in from all over the place is always fun," Stricker said. "He's probably the best putter I've ever seen. The guy makes it or looks like he's going to make it from just about anywhere. It's fun to watch, and you can't get caught up in watching him, though, because otherwise you go by the wayside, so I had to pay attention to what I was doing."
During Thursday's streak Snedeker holed two putts from the fringe, the second one being a 37-footer, and he bladed a wedge from 15 feet through the fringe at No. 14. His other birdies during that stretch came from 8, 10, 6 and 18 feet. Snedeker made one more birdie, too, a 16-footer at the sixth hole.
"To roll off seven birdies in a row kind of came out of nowhere," Snedeker acknowledged. "I wasn't expecting it. I hadn't been playing the best to say the least, and to get on a roll like that is always welcoming.
"Great frame of mind, looking forward to the rest of the week. I realize it's going to be a completely different golf course tomorrow if the wind changes. Excited I got my one low one in me out of the way early and go out and play some solid golf the rest of the week."