PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Brandt Snedeker had his ninth straight round in the 60s on Saturday. One more like that and he might really have reason to celebrate.
Snedeker ran off four straight birdies along the prettiest part of Pebble Beach for a 4-under-par 68, giving him a share of the lead with 31-year-old rookie James Hahn going into the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
A runner-up in consecutive weeks to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, this time the spotlight belongs to Snedeker.
“You never know what tomorrow holds, but I feel like I’m in great position, and I’m going to be surely more prepared, no matter who is around me in the last group,” Snedeker said. “I’m probably going to have the most experience of anybody in those last couple groups of winning a golf tournament.”
Hahn had a 66 at Spyglass Hill, making birdie on the last three holes to join Snedeker at 12-under 202. Chris Kirk birdied his last hole at Monterey Peninsula for a 64 and was one shot behind the leaders.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson took a spill on the rocks below the 18th fairway. Mickelson was looking to see if his tee shot could be found – and played – when his right foot gave way and he landed hard on his back side, bracing the fall with his hands.
“I got lucky,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t get hurt.”
Not physically, anyway. Mickelson hit his next shot into the Pacific Ocean and had to scramble for a triple bogey, leaving him 11 shots behind and ending his hopes of a record-tying fifth win at Pebble Beach.
Snedeker hasn’t had a better chance to win all year. He was seven shots behind Woods and six shots behind Mickelson going into the final round. Now he is tied with Hahn, who until now was best known for “Gangnam” celebration of his birdie on the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open.
“He’s been playing great golf these last couple of weeks ... and it looks like this could be his week,” Mickelson said of Snedeker. “But final round at Pebble Beach, a lot of things happen and he has to play one more good round. I know he has it in him, but he still has to go do it.”
Pebble Beach was simply majestic on Saturday, with a blazing sun shining across the Pacific coast and temperatures in the upper 50s.
Mediate leads Allianz Championship by 3 shots: At Boca Raton, Fla., Rocco Mediate shot an 11-under 61 on Saturday, setting a course record and building a three-shot lead over Tom Pernice Jr. heading into the final round.
Mediate is trying to become the 16th player to win his first start on the Champions Tour. He won six times on the PGA Tour and is probably best remembered for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open.
Mediate had five consecutive birdies on the front nine, highlighted by a drive to the green at the par-4 seventh hole. He added three more birdies after the turn and closed with a birdie at the 17th and a 10-foot eagle at the 18th.
It was the lowest round of Mediate’s career, one better than his 62 at Colonial in 2001, and it snapped the tournament record of 63 set by Craig Stadler in 2007. Mediate’s total of 128 through two rounds was three better than the 36-hole mark of 131 shared by Tim Simpson and Tommy Armour III.