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January 28 2013

10:45 PM

Teater, Sneds and Watney look ahead

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- All three had varying degrees of satisfaction with the way the Farmers Insurance Open ended.

But there is no denying that Brandt Snedeker, the reigning FedExCup champion, Nick Watney and Josh Teater should all have momentum heading into this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open.

After all, Snedeker and Teater tied for second at Torrey Pines, four strokes behind Tiger Woods, while Watney shared fourth with Jimmy Walker. Of the three, Teater had the best back nine when the pressure was on but when the dust settles, there were positives for each.

Teater's finish was the best of his career, eclipsing the tie for third at the 2010 Turning Stone Resort Championship. The Kentuckian close the 2012 campaign out with three top-10s in his last nine starts and he had a tie for 15th in Hawaii to go along with Monday's career-best.

"It was a good finish," Teater said. "I didn't play my best. Usually I'm a good ball striker, good driver, and I didn't really have that. But I've been working hard on my short game and my putting, and that's what kept me in it this week.
 
"It was awesome to have a finish like this when you don't really feel like you're playing your best or maybe in the past I've put emphasis in other spots.  It just kind of opened my eyes to what I can continue working on. This is my fourth year out here, so it's no fluke that I belong. It's just taking the next step."

Snedeker trailed by six when he returned to attempt an 11-footer at the 14th hole on Monday. His putter let him down, though, there and with an inordinate amount of three-putts for the man who led the TOUR in strokes-gained putting last year.

The 75 Snedeker shot in the second round after owning a share of the first-round lead didn't help, either.

"I was a little disappointed with the way I finished today," said Snedeker, who shot 69 in the final round. "Just didn't roll the ball the way I wanted to all week. Had a good little stretch in my third round, being the fourth round, end of the third round. 

"But you've got to roll the ball really well around here, and I didn't do a good job of that in the second round.  It's a little frustrating because it's normally something I think I can do well. It was a good last 36 holes, but I've still got a lot of stuff to work on for (the Waste Management Phoenix Open)."

Snedeker was trying to come from seven strokes behind and win for the second straight year. In 2012, he closed with a 67 and was in the media center discussing what appeared to be a second-place finish when Kyle Stanley triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole to let Snedeker into the playoff he won.

"I guess it was a good title defense," Snedeker said. "I'm not really excited about the way I finished. If I had made three birdies going into today, I'd probably be more excited about it. But that's how you judge it is how you finish, and I didn't finish very well, so that's very frustrating.
 
"But at the beginning of the week if you had told me I'd have a chance on the back nine on Sunday, I probably would have taken it. So it's something to build on."

Watney is also a Farmers Insurance Open champion, winning the tournament in 2009. He trailed Woods by five strokes when he made the turn but stumbled on the back nine, making four bogeys before rolling in a birdie putt on the 72nd hole.
    
"It was a bit disappointing, but not a bad start, and I'm looking forward to next week," said Watney, who tied for second at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in his other 2013 start. "(My game is) pretty good. You know, today was a bit rocky. I don't know if it was the wind or whatever it was. ... I'm close to doing some good things, and I just want to get a little closer next time."

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