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July 31 2013

10:53 AM

Snedeker paces self for stretch run

Brandt Snedeker won last week's RBC Canadian Open.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

AKRON, Ohio -- The penguins were the highlight. The otters, too. But Lily Snedeker was disappointed there were no giraffes for her to see during a trip with her dad Brandt to the Akron Zoo.

Family excursions like the one the Snedekers took on Tuesday help keep the patriarch of the clan sane during a grueling stretch that will see him play nine straight tournaments, as well as The Presidents Cup. Granted, there are two off weeks during that stretch but its still a lot to wrap your clubs around.

"PGA TOUR has a tournament, I'm going to play the rest of the year pretty much," Snedeker said with a smile. "I'm playing the rest, and no concern at all. I'm being really smart about practice and taking time away."

He's also playing extremely well. Snedeker's stretch started at The Open Championship where he tied for 11th and he followed that up by flying across the Atlantic and picking up his second victory of the season -- and the sixth of his career -- at the RBC Canadian Open.

"Obviously feeling pretty good right now after last week to play the way I did, especially ... being affiliated with RBC was putting a little more pressure on myself, to be able to rise to the occasion and play great golf on the weekend," Snedeker said. "And the big thing is now to maintain that momentum coming into this week."

To prepare for this stretch run, Snedeker only played once in May and once between the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. So on the eve of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, he's rested and prepared.

"Made sure I was working on the right stuff, that we had a clear game plan of what we were going to do these last nine events, eight events, and start to execute it, which is nice," Snedeker said.

While other players face a busy schedule with this week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship followed by the FedExCup Playoffs, though, Snedeker adds to his by playing in the regular-season finale at the Wyndham Championship. He won his first PGA TOUR event in Greensboro and Wyndham is another of his sponsors.

Of course, Snedeker played the same schedule a year ago and ended up winning the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus so "it worked out pretty well," he said. "Hopefully I can do it again this year."

Snedeker, who didn't touch a club on Monday or Tuesday, feels his game is nearly at the same level it was at the start of the season when he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and finished second or third three other times in his first five starts. A rib injury halted that momentum but the affable Tennessean feels he's "close."

"Beginning of the year, I was driving the ball fantastic and I was hitting a lot of greens and hitting my irons fantastic," Snedeker said. "I felt like I haven't been able to piece that together like I was early in the year.
   
"Last week my iron play was phenomenal, but I didn't drive the ball particularly well. I got really lucky last week a lot, and then to do that this week is not going to be successful. I've got to hit fairways this week.  There's no way around it.
   
"If I can just kind of get that mentality of my driver that I've had with my irons the last couple weeks, everything should be pretty good."


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