Snedeker playing like old self again at RBC Heritage
He sits just two back of leader Bryson DeChambeau
April 13, 2018
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Brandt Snedeker birdies No. 18 at RBC Heritage
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Brandt Snedeker has felt like he’s been playing well, but the results haven’t shown it. Now, finally, they are.
Snedeker, the 2011 RBC Heritage champion, heated up with a second-round 64 at Harbour Town and is just two off the lead, his best showing through 36 holes since missing much of 2017 with a sternum injury. Bryson DeChambeau saved par on 18 to shoot 64 and leads alone at 10-under, while Si Woo Kim (65) and Ian Poulter (64) were tied for second just one shot back.
“About as frustrating as it’s ever been in my career,” Snedeker said of his uncharacteristic play this season, which has seen him miss putts, miss cuts, and miss the Masters for the first time since 2010. He came into this week languishing at 131st in the FedExCup.
“It’s been tough,” Snedeker added. “I feel like I’m working hard or harder than I ever have in my career. I feel like I’m doing all the stuff right.”
In making eight birdies and one bogey, Snedeker, 37, looked less like the guy who has struggled this season and more like the eight-time PGA TOUR winner who lifted the TOUR Championship and FedExCup trophies in 2012. He’s the same guy, but with a whole new appreciation for the game that was off limits to him, and some changes to his team.
After a 2017 season marred by a sternum injury that sidelined him for five months, Snedeker parted with his caddie of 12 years, Scott Vail, and hired Matt Hauser, who’d been with Johnson Wagner. Healthy again, Snedeker vowed to make the most of the new partnership and his new start.
“You don't realize how much you love the game until you don't play it for a while,” he said from the unofficial QBE Shootout last December, when he and Bubba Watson finished seventh of 12 teams. “I had 14 weeks pretty much away from the game of golf, eight weeks not even swinging a golf club.”
Now Snedeker is not only swinging a club, but he’s knocking the last bit of rust off at a course he loves.
“It’s fun to be where you feel like you belong,” he said.
Bryson DeChambeau's interview after Round 2 of RBC Heritage
DECHAMBEAU HEATS UP WITH PUTTER
Bryson DeChambeau once felt so frustrated with his putting that he tried going side-saddle. Not anymore. He took just 23 putts, including a par save of just under 13 feet on the 18th hole, for a career-low 64.
“My putting has progressed over time,” said DeChambeau, who was fourth in the field in strokes gained: putting (+3.399) on Friday. “It’s taken time to understand a lot of these variables that were unknown to me in college, unknown to me in junior and amateur golf.”
Although he speaks of having to be patient, it’s worth remembering that DeChambeau, who picked up his first TOUR win at the John Deere Classic last summer, is still only 24.
“It just takes time, being comfortable out here,” he said. “It just does. And it has taken a little bit longer than I expected, but I’m comparing myself to Jordan Spieth.”
POULTER PLAYS THROUGH FATIGUE
Ian Poulter doesn’t often play six weeks in a row. It’s just worked out that way. So far, so good, though, as Poulter shot a bogey-free 64 Friday to go into the weekend just one back. His secret so far: going to bed “exceptionally early” and staying there.
“Six weeks in a row is unusual,” said Poulter, who won the recent Houston Open to play his way into the Masters, where he finished T44. “That’s more golf than I’m used to playing. I’m looking forward to having a glass of champagne next week, relax for a few days, and then back on the horse.”
After taking next week off, Poulter will play in the two-man team event, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, with Graeme McDowell.
KIM SHOOTS 65 WITH A TRIPLE
Si Woo Kim, who will defend his title at THE PLAYERS Championship next month, is one off the lead after one of the more unusual rounds of his young career. He could not remember posting such a low score with a triple-bogey, and especially not a triple with two penalty shots. He hit his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 192-yard, par-3 14th hole, splashed out, and found himself on the fringe and with a skiff of sand between his ball and the hole. He wiped away the sand with his hands, which PGA TOUR rules official Mark Dusbabek informed him on the 15th tee would draw a two-stroke penalty.
“I honestly didn’t know,” Kim said through a translator. He birdied seven of his next nine holes, finishing with his ninth birdie at the short, par-4 ninth.
“This might be the first time that I’ve played so well with a triple-bogey,” he said. “But I’m having great feel around the greens and I feel really confident around the greens. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Kim is third in the field in strokes gained: putting.
KRAFT GETS FREAKISH BAD BREAK
Kelly Kraft teed off at the par-3 14th only to watch his ball hit a “giant, black bird” and plop into the water hazard. The bird flew away, but Kraft’s score was grievously injured as he took a double-bogey and wound up missing the cut by a shot.
“There was a helping wind, and I hit a 7-iron, caught it perfect,” Kraft said. “It was probably 30 yards off the tee box and this giant, black bird swooped in front of it and hit it and the ball fell 20 yards short in the water.”
Kraft was told that while the so-called cancel-and-replay rule is invoked if a ball hits a permanent, elevated power line, the same doesn’t hold true for a bird strike.
“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” said Dillard Pruitt, a PGA TOUR rules official on site. “Whereas a telephone wire is man-made.”
MAGGERT ENJOYS RARE TOUR START
Jeff Maggert, 54, was the oldest player in the field despite the presence of fellow PGA TOUR Champions-eligible players Glen Day, 52, and Davis Love III, who turned 54 on Friday. But Maggert (76-72), making his first PGA TOUR start in almost two years, still knows how to play and might have made the cut were it not for a triple-bogey in the first round and a double in the second.
“They had an extra sponsor’s invitation,” he said. “And I wanted to give my son Jake a chance to caddie in a TOUR event. He did good. He’s a good caddie.”
A father of five, Maggert has a home in Sea Pines and brings his family here from Houston in the summers. Although Harbour Town is an easy walk, he also gave Jake, 13, a break in using only a lightweight carry bag, not a staff bag.
“This is my style of course,” said Maggert, the consummate control player who won three times on the PGA TOUR. “If they played courses like this every week, I might come out here and give it a go again.”
Next week he will return to the PGA TOUR Champions and the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, where his partner, for the first time, will be Jesper Parnevik.
“This was fun, but it’s hard to come out for one week,” Maggert said. “I had two crappy holes. Other than that, I felt like I could have made a run and finished under par.”
Shot of the Day
Wesley Bryan sinks birdie putt for the Shot of the Day
DUSTIN JOHNSON – Making his first start here since 2009, the World No. 1 and South Carolina native shot his second straight 69 and was at 4-under for the tournament.
WESLEY BRYAN – Defending champ and Palmetto State favorite missed a two-and-a-half-foot par putt at the 17th hole, but birdied the tough finishing hole for a 71 to remain 2-under.
DAVIS LOVE III – After shooting a first-round 73, he fired a 69 to make the cut on the number.
LUKE DONALD – Five-time runner-up here bounced back with a 67, but missed a birdie putt of just inside five feet at the ninth hole, his last of the day, to finish 1-over, a shot outside the cut.
JIM FURYK – The two-time RBC champion (2010, 2015) shot his second 70 to make the cut.
QUOTABLES“Sit. Sit. Sit. Go.”“This has got to be more unusual than a hole-in-one.”“I was kicked in the teeth.”"Everything."
Low round: 8-under 63 by Satoshi Kodaira of Japan, who made 124 feet, 4 inches worth of putts and was first in shots gained: putting (+5.207). He shot an opening-round 73 and is T13, four back.
Longest drive: 347 yds (Bryson DeChambeau/No. 9)
Longest putt: 46’ 11” (Austin Cook/No. 12)
Toughest hole: The par-3 4th (3.298)