Brandt Snedeker barely survives two cuts at Harbour Town
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Brandt Snedeker almost missed the cut at the RBC Heritage.
Thanks to Jesper Parnevik's missed putt on No. 18 early Saturday morning that pushed the cut line to 2 over par, Snedeker and 20 other players secured third-round tee times. Friday's round was suspended due to inclement weather, so Snedeker's fate hung in the balance overnight.
But he still wasn't in the clear after Parnevik missed a 5-foot putt.
Ninety-one players made the 36-hole cut - tying the PGA Tour record set at the 1981 Travelers Championship - so a secondary cut was instituted for Saturday. The top 70 players including ties would move on to Sunday. As Snedeker stepped on the 9th tee - his 18th - Saturday afternoon, he had to make a par to stay under the cut line.
Snedeker, currently fifth in the World Rankings, parred the 332-yard, par-4 ninth and carded a third-round 71. After leaving the course Friday night not knowing his status for the next day, Snedeker went back to his hotel Saturday knowing he had an early tee time the next day. The 14-to-1 favorite entering the tournament barely made the 54-hole cut and will tee off first Sunday at 8:34 a.m. ET.
"It was weird," said Snedeker, the 2011 RBC Heritage champion. "I hadn't had one of those happen in a while where I thought I was going to miss the cut. So it was a nice reprieve to be able to come out here and play two more rounds."
It was only by a matter of inches.
Late Friday afternoon, the 36-hole cut line fell at 1 over par as Parnevik lined up a five-foot par putt on the par-4 18th. A horn signaling the suspension of play blew as Parnevik was about to make his backstroke, and he had to return to the course at 8 a.m. Saturday to complete his round.
His initial read placed the putt right-center. Fourteen hours later, the wind was swirling in a different direction, so he aimed left-center. He missed by six inches.
"A lot of guys were happy," said Parnevik, who shot a third-round 73 to miss the 54-hole cut. "There were a lot of [player's] kids who didn't want to go home."
The Snedekers sure didn't. In his press conference on Wednesday, the 32-year-old and father of two children said enjoying the island with his family would be therapeutic after missing another chance at a green jacket last Sunday.
In his opening round - his first since shooting a final-round 75 to fall out of contention at Augusta - Snedeker passed the time on several tee boxes by swinging an invisible club, focusing on his takeaway motion and shoulder turn. After Saturday's round, he headed for the range for more of the same - only with a real club in hand. Snedeker repeatedly fired wedge after wedge at a pin about 100 yards down a slight hill, several times stopping and looking at his club angle after his backswing.
"We're trying to tighten things up," Snedeker said. "It's going to be real windy tomorrow, so we're working on keeping the ball a little bit lower."
Snedeker's lack of scoring success this week - he has more bogeys (eight) than birdies (six) and has putted "awful" - could be attributed to changing playing conditions at Harbour Town. After opening on a sunny day with a gentle breeze, the course fought back Friday with wind and heavy rain. Saturday's chilly, but soft conditions provided plenty of birdie opportunities. The sun should reappear Sunday afternoon, but severe wind gusts are projected in the 20-25 mph range.
Snedeker's post-round range session was as much about working out kinks from his day on the course as preparing for tomorrow's conditions.
Snedeker said the Heritage would be a breath of fresh air after the stress of the Masters. Three rounds later, he's lucky to still be in the tournament.
"I'm playing really good," Snedeker said. "It's just a matter of getting some good momentum going and making some putts when I need to. Tomorrow is going to be really tough, so hopefully I can get out there in the morning, get the ball down and shoot something 5 or 6 under par and jump up the leaderboard a little bit."