Saturday's 63 pushed Brandt Snedeker to the top of the leaderboard. (Martin/Getty Images)
By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.COM
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Golf, like life, is about seizing your moments - especially when the unexpected happens.
Brandt Snedeker did that on Saturday afternoon at the RBC Canadian Open.
In a strange twist of events in the third round at Glen Abbey, the overnight leader Hunter Mahan withdrew from the tournament prior to his afternoon tee time when he received a call on the driving range that his wife Kandi had gone into early labor.
Snedeker, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this year, didn’t learn about this news until the seventh tee when he glanced at the leaderboard and didn’t see Mahan’s name. By then, it didn’t matter. Wielding a hot putter, the Tennessean had already birdied four of his first six holes to get to 9 under for the tournament. Once he learned this news, however, it inspired him to seize this opportunity and go even lower.
“I looked at my caddie, and I go, ‘what’s going on?’ He goes: ‘I think Hunter had to leave because Kandi went into labor,” said Snedeker, the reigning FedExCup champion who is fourth in the 2013 standings. “That just kind of left the tournament wide open. Hunter was going to be hard to catch because he was playing so good, and the way drives the golf ball on this golf course he was going to play really well on the weekend. For me to catch him, I knew I was going to have to shoot something really low.”
Low is where Snedeker would go. He started the round T29. Thanks to a 9-under 63, he rocketed up the leaderboard. He heads to Sunday with a one-shot lead over David Lingmerth.
Despite a steady rain for most of the afternoon, Snedeker remained focused. The Tennessean scrambled a wee bit with his driver — only hitting six of 14 fairways. Snedeker’s short game made up for this lack of accuracy off the tee. The 32-year-old only took 25 putts and dialed in his approaches, hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
“My wedge game has been phenomenal all week,” he said. “I’ve leaned on that a few times … hopefully I’ll continue to do it.”
As for his putting, Snedeker said it started feeling good last week at The Open Championship and he just kept those good vibes going. His only regret with his third round was that he didn’t make a couple more birdies coming home on a pair of holes that surrendered a lot of birdies and eagles today.
“I was disappointed with the way I finished on 17 and 18 not getting one there, but with the way everything kind of flipped everything with Hunter leaving, there's a great chance to win this golf tournament tomorrow, which is nice.
Looking to Sunday’s final round, Snedeker says he needs to remain aggressive and shoot a low number to win.
“I think 18‑, 19‑, 20‑under par is going to be the score to get to, and I’m going to try to get past that,” he said. “It’s one of those courses where you know you’ve got to make birdies. It’s actually kind of a comforting feeling because you know you have to be aggressive all day long.”