Riding high off a hot PLAYERS finish, Snedeker looks to pounce at Copperhead
March 22, 2019
By Jeff Babineau, PGATOUR.COM
- March 22, 2019
Brandt Snedeker’s bunker shot sets up birdie putt at Valspar
PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Brandt Snedeker has a fair amount of names between him and the top of the leaderboard at the Valspar Championship – 14, if you are counting – but he’s lurking. Traditionally at the demanding Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, that’s a good position in which to be heading to the weekend.
After opening with a pair of 1-under 70s, Snedeker feels he is close to finding real good form once again, having tied for fifth last weekend against the best field in golf at THE PLAYERS Championship. Back with instructor Todd Anderson once again, Snedeker, a nine-time PGA TOUR champion at age 38, has worked diligently to eliminate the left side of the golf course, misses that had troubled him for the last three seasons. Taking his “old” feels from the range to the course can been challenging, but he says he is getting closer each day.
“Anytime that I start hitting shots left, I know the (right) arm is getting high in the backswing and the clubface is getting shut and I’m trying to hold on for dear life at that point,” he said. “If I can get that clubface more open in the backswing, it allows me to feel that I can release it harder and go.”
And Snedeker appears ready to go. There were two ways he could view how he played a week at ago on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. He could be pleased with a very good finish (his best since losing in a three-way playoff at the season-opening Safeway Open) or could rue what might have been. After all, Snedeker was 4 over par through eight holes of his Thursday round (he rallied to shoot 69), and 3 over through eight holes one day later (he shot 72).
On Sunday he bogeyed his final hole to shoot 69, having missed some good opportunities on 15 and 17 on his way to the clubhouse. But overall, his play in the heat of a Sunday at TPC Sawgrass marked a nice step.
“I’m old enough and experienced enough now to not get so caught up on what happened on Sunday, knowing I hit a lot of great shots down the stretch, had a lot of putts to get up there tied for the lead and just didn’t make them,” he said. “Looking back on the week, I know the reason that it didn’t happen for me is that Thursday and Friday were kind of ‘suspect.’"
“I try to take out the positives, that I was really, really close. I always think the great players out here find ways to win. It doesn’t matter how you start out, it’s how you finish, right? I look at last week and said I need to find a way to finish.”
He did say his solid finish brought with it an added bonus: Snedeker arrived to the Copperhead this week carrying plenty of confidence. Though he has struggled at times with his ballstriking, his short game – old faithful – has pulled through nicely, and he’s right there on the weekend, trailing the leaders by only four shots.
“I don’t think I’d have made the cut this week as bad as I hit it the first two days if I didn’t have that confidence building from last week,” Snedeker said. “I know that I’m one swing thought away now from something clicking. The golf course is playing really, really tough, and when it does that it’s great for me. Everybody starts missing greens and it turns into a short-game contest, and that’s right up my alley. I just need to hit a few more quality shots and take a few more chances, and I’ll be right there.”