Snedeker takes one-shot lead in Phoenix
PHOENIX: Brandt Snedeker fired a five-under par 66 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Scott Piercy after three rounds of the six million-dollar Phoenix Open.
Snedeker nabbed his sixth birdie of the day at the 17th and had a 14-under total of 199 going into Sunday's final round. Piercy had two eagles in a 65 for 200.
Rickie Fowler shot a 69 and Matt Every 68 and were tied for third on 201. Colombian Camilo Villegas, who shared the overnight lead with Mark Wilson, birdied the last two holes in a 71 for 202.
Wilson, Mark Calcavecchia and Lee Janzen were among nine players on 10-under 203.
Overcast skies and a threat of rain made for smaller than expected crowds. But the numbers still topped 100,000 and the scene at par-three 16th - surrounded by bleachers - was typically raucous.
"It was crazy," Snedeker said. "You've got to take it with a grain of salt and realize golf needs that. We need people out here having fun, being excited about being at a golf tournament. If you can't take it for one hole, good God, get over yourself and have some fun."
Snedeker, the 2007 US tour's rookie of the year, struggled early last season - missing 12 of 26 cuts and sitting out eight weeks with a rib injury.
"You just listen to your hype," Snedeker admitted. "You hear people talking about how good you are and how much you could be the next big thing, you should be winning each week. And the minute you think that you should be winning the golf tournament each week, you're completely out of bounds."
He said his tie for fifth at the AT&T National in July was a turning point.
"Literally like a flipped switch," Snedeker said. "I said, 'I'm sick and tired of this. I don't care if I have to quit playing golf, I'm not going to keep playing the way I've been playing.'
"And ever since then I've been playing good," added Snedeker, who tied for second at Torrey Pines in January.
His lone bogey on Saturday came at the par-four 14th, where his second shot found the left bunker. He failed to get out, then hit his fourth shot 32 feet past the hole - and made the putt to limit the damage.
"That says a lot about where my head is right now," Snedeker said. "It completely changed the way I walked on the 15th tee, feeling excited, confident, everything still going good."
Piercy will play in the final group here on Sunday for the second straight year. Last year he started the fourth round one shot off the lead and finished tied for sixth.
Piercy said he learned from watching tournament winner Kenny Perry in the final round last year.
"He made a ton of pars. He didn't make any bogeys, or very few bogeys, and then when he made a birdie, that birdie was so huge," Piercy said.