MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brandt Snedeker was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, went to school at Vanderbilt University and still resides inside state lines.
One would assume the FedEx St. Jude Classic would be a mainstay on the schedule for the 8-time PGA TOUR winner — except you have to go back to 2013 to find the last time he teed it up at TPC Southwind.
So what gives?
For Snedeker, it was a combination of poor play — two missed cuts in his previous four starts in Memphis — and the event backing up to the U.S. Open that led him to leave it off his schedule.
"It's a golf course I've always loved," Snedeker said. "Played here a couple years and didn't have a lot of great success. Going into the U.S. Open I felt it might have been hindering me."
Instead of sticking with his normal pre-U.S. Open routine, Snedeker mixed things up and added the tournament this season following a stretch of three missed cuts in the last four events.
So far, the change in plans is paying off.
Snedeker followed an opening-round 71 with 62 on Friday, coming within one shot of tying the course record at TPC Southwind held by Jay Delsing (1993) and Bob Estes (2001). The round was also the lowest of his TOUR career.
The bogey-free day featured four birdies on each side and 149 feet, 11 inches worth of putts with an old Odyssey Rossie mallet. Snedeker led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting for the round, gaining 5.634 strokes on the greens.
He attributed the strong day with the putter to additional practice he put in early in the week that's started to pay dividends.
"Put a lot of time in, that's what it boils down to," said Snedeker, who's three shots off the lead at 7 under. "I know the tendency in my stroke to kind of get off, been working really hard on it. It's tough staying patient waiting for that good round to come."
This season has been a mixed bag for Snedeker, who missed time due to a sternum injury last year and has yet to fully regain his previous form. Through 15 starts, he's recorded four top 25s to go along with six missed cuts.
"You've got to put the work in," Snedeker said, "but until you see results you start questioning what you're doing and you start questioning everything. You need to see these positive days."
After Friday's 62, things seem to be coming together for Snedeker, who's hoping to head into the U.S. Open on a high note, while also improving his ranking (128th) in the season-long FedExCup standings.
"It's been a long time coming," he said. "I know I'm playing good. It's somewhere in there, just got to get out of your own way."
Dustin Johnson waited until the turn to produce some fireworks at TPC Southwind. After going out in 34, Johnson holed a wedge from 111 yards for eagle on the 1st and nearly replicated the shot on the following hole. He would add three more birdies to shoot 29 on the back nine en route to a 7-under 63. "I feel like I'm playing well. I know if I can drive it in the fairway that I'm going to give myself a good look for birdie. I felt like I did that pretty much all day today," he said.
Andrew Putnam has played near-flawless golf through 36 holes, with just one bogey on the card. At 9 under, he'll start the third round one back of Dustin Johnson with an opportunity to chase his first TOUR win. Putnam attributed his strong week to a putter that's gotten hot of late. He only needed 25 putts on Friday. "I was not matching the line and the speed. Bermuda greens, you really need those two matched up so I did better today," Putnam said.
Depending on how many shots he needs to make up over the weekend, Steve Stricker is prepared to get aggressive. Stricker briefly took the lead on Friday before carding two bogeys on back-to-back holes to finish the day where he started at 4 under. "If I'm going to be 5, 6, 7 shots back or something, you might have to get a little more aggressive, but you've got to be prepared to pay the price when you do because it's difficult around here," Stricker said.
Amateur Braden Thornberry made the weekend for the second straight year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The Ole Miss senior opened with 73 but battled back on Friday, posting a 4-under 66 that featured five birdies. He'll start the third round at 1 under.
Brooks Koepka couldn't replicate Thursday's 66 but still managed to post 69 to get within five shots of Dustin Johnson at 5 under. He recorded just two birdies and hit 8 of 14 fairways.
QUOTABLESProbably a mistake on my part not getting back here quicker, but now I'm back.I feel like I've been putting myself in position the last six, seven weeks, so I feel like I deserve to be here.
Low round: Brandt Snedeker's 8-under 62. The round was one shy of the course record held by Jay Delsing (1993) and Bob Estes (2001).
Longest drive: Trey Mullinax with a 366-yard drive on the 6th hole.
Longest putt: Tommy Gainey with a putt of 41 feet, 8 inches for birdie on the 17th hole.
Hardest hole: The 485-yard par-4 5th, which played to a stroke average of 4.370, with just 9 birdies on Friday.
Easiest hole: The 530-yard par-5 16th, which played to a stroke average of 4.377, with 6 eagles and 90 birdies on Friday.
Greens in regulation: Tyler Duncan (69), Ben Silverman (69) and J.T. Poston (68) hit 15 greens.
CALL OF THE DAY
For play-by-play coverage of Round 3 of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, listen at PGATOUR.COM.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Dustin Johnson's clutch hole-out approach for Shot of the Day