Creative Snedeker playing Augusta like a wily old pro

Snedeker has longish unkempt blond hair like the early-'80s-era Larry Bird.
Jerry Wachter/NBAE via Getty Images (Bird); John W. McDonough (Snedeker)

Brandt who?

\nThat question will be heard in living rooms across the country today as viewers check the Masters leaderboard to see Brandt Snedeker at nine under par, two off the lead and in the final paring with Trevor Immelman.

\nFor the record, Snedeker, 27, is the 2007 PGA Rookie of the Year who's best known for his opening-round 61 at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in 2007. He also has unkempt blond hair (think early-'80s Larry Bird) and an easy manner that plays well to the galleries. But his coach Todd Anderson says the one thing fans need to know about Snedeker is that he's as competitive as anyone on the course, including Tiger Woods.

\n"He's a scrapper," Anderson said. "If he's struggling with something, he'll make an adjustment and find a way to get in the hole. He doesn't get discouraged, and the bigger the stage, the better he'll play."

\nThe other thing to watch for is Snedeker's imagination. Anderson said that his charge plays shots that wouldn't even occur to other players, like the one he hit on the par-3 6th on Friday. Snedeker put his tee shot on the back-right of the green, with the pin positioned back-left. No sweat: He lobbed a wedge off the green to carry a slope and sank the shot for birdie — without taking a divot.\n

\n"I was more nervous over that shot than I was all day because I knew if I messed it up people were going to have a field day with me," Snedeker said. "I knew there were a couple members worried when I took out the lob wedge, but I figured it would be OK if I didn't take a divot, and I didn't, so the green is no worse for wear."\n

\nSnedeker said he developed his shot-making creativity playing municipal courses around his hometown of Nashville, Tenn., a talent that's serving him well at Augusta National.\n

\n"You don't really have a choice here — if you're not imaginative you're not going to be able to [get] a lot of shots up-and-down," Snedeker said. "I've played here enough to realize that you can use a lot of these slopes [on the green] to your advantage, and that's what I tried to do here."

\nHe showed his sense of humor when asked if his on-course creativity extended to other areas of his life. The answer: No.\n

\n"I don't sing, I don't do anything like that," Snedeker said with a laugh. "I don't know why, on the golf course, I somehow have some imagination and find shots. I am pretty much as 'plain Jane' as you can get off the course."\n

\nSnedeker has only teed it up in the Masters once — as an amateur in 2004 — but he's played the course about 50 times as a guest. Anderson says that Augusta National is a perfect course for Snedeker to take advantage of his strengths, and he's not at all surprised to see his star pupil enter the weekend just one shot off the lead.\n

\n"Brandt's a feel kind of player and he's very good around the greens," Anderson said. "Driver is probably his weakest club, but when he's driving well, he's going to be up there [on the leaderboard]."

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