Before the 2013 Masters began, Brandt Snedeker said he would give up all his career PGA Tour wins -- five of them, to be exact -- to win the Masters once. After a scorching back nine on Friday, the pale, lanky Southerner is in pretty good position to do just that.
"Sneds" played evenly throughout Saturday in Augusta before turning up the heat down the stretch, posting a 3-under 69 that put him at the top of the leaderboard tied with Angel Cabrera at the end of the day.
"I played a clean scorecard," Snedeker said after his round. "Making no bogeys around here is a really great thing for me. I drove the ball great today, I really didn't put myself in trouble at all. I kind of hit away from pins and hit the fat sides of greens, relied on my putting to get me through and made some good putts coming down the stretch to shoot that 69."
It'll be an emotionally charged Sunday for Snedeker, who's still searching for his first win in a major. Though he might look calm, he said he's dealing with more of a "duck on a pond" feeling than anything else.
"Of course, you do -- like a duck on a pond," Snedeker said when asked if he got nervous. "I might seem calm on the outside but I'm going a mile a minute -- heart's beating a mile a minute on the inside. Done a good job calming those nerves the first three days. Hopefully, I can do it again tomorrow."
Snedeker indicated before the tournament that his week leading up to the Masters is anxiety-filled because of how much he wants to win at Augusta.
"I would trade all my PGA Tour wins for this one tournament," Snedeker said. "It's tough to treat it like just any other tournament."
Snedeker's recent history on Sunday at Augusta isn't dynamic, but it could also bode well for success. He shot a 73 in 2012 before finishing 19th overall.
And, in 2011, Snedeker shot a 70 en route to a 15th-place finish.
What will be particularly interesting to watch is his performance split between the front and back nine on Sunday. Snedeker has owned the back-nine holes thus far in 2013, shooting a 6-under during his three rounds.
That strong performance is certainly aided by what he did on Saturday. As Snedeker cruised onto the back with an even-par performance on the day, he was 4 under for the tournament and simply lurking around the leaders. (Although some of us were expecting a run.)
A birdie on the par-5 13th hole raised some eyebrows, and another birdie at the par-5 15th hole had everyone talking about Snedeker. He quickly stepped up to No. 16 and absolutely stuck his tee shot, setting himself up for a kick-in birdie to take a share of the lead at the time with Jason Day at 7 under. Subsequent strong efforts for par on Nos. 17 and 18 left Snedeker at 7 under heading into the clubhouse.
He hasn't been uneven by any stretch of the imagination. Despite being one of the more emotionally charged golfers on the Tour, Snedeker's game hasn't reflected anything other than calm, smart golf.
He has just six scores above par for the tournament, with five bogeys and a double bogey. That's thanks to a wise approach to an extremely difficult and "baiting" golf course at Augusta.
"This is a golf course that's baiting you into making mistakes. It's baiting you into going after a pin when you shouldn't go after it," Snedeker said. "And that's the one thing I've learned around here, is that you just gotta pick your spots. When you have a good number and a good feeling, you can be aggressive. Rest of the time, you've just got to kind of shift away and wait for those opportunities to come along."
All but one of those has come on the front nine, where Snedeker is "just" 1 under for the tournament.
If he can come out of the gates on Sunday the way he came out on Saturday -- a square-free front nine -- Snedeker is a very good bet to be the next lanky Southerner fitted for a green jacket.