Brandt Snedeker's past will help his future

September, 4, 2010
09/04/10
5:50
PM ET

NORTON, Mass. -- The first putt made you hopeful. The second made you cringe. The third made your heart ache. And by the time Brandt Snedeker had tapped in his fourth putt for a triple-bogey on the final hole at last year's BMW Championship, you felt like a car had careened off the road right in front of your very eyes.

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Brandt Snedeker
Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty ImagesBrandt Snedeker is 53rd in the FedEx Cup point standings. A victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship would certainly clinch a spot in the Tour Championship later this month.

If he had just carded bogey on the 18th green at Cog Hill, Snedeker not only would have qualified for the ensuing Tour Championship, but a place in the field at each of this year's first three majors.

Instead, his four-jack from 11 feet recalled Seve Ballesteros' one-time explanation for such inefficiency -- "I miss, I miss, I miss, I make" -- although his misses translated into missed opportunities, too. Snedeker failed to reach the season-ender at East Lake and remained home for two of those majors, qualifying only for the U.S. Open, where he finished in a share of eighth place.

"It's kind of funny now looking back on it," Snedeker said. "It's one of those things, for about a week it stung, but now looking back on it, I feel like I'm hopefully a little bit stronger now mentally to deal with something like that than I was then, so I feel better about it now."

A naturally optimistic fellow, he has turned those proverbial lemons into lemonade, squeezing the competition so far through two rounds at this week's Deutsche Bank Championship. Snedeker has put together rounds of 66 and 64 to share the lead with Jason Day midway through the second FedEx Cup playoff event. At 53rd in the standings entering this week and knowing that a victory assures a spot at the Tour Championship, he is hopeful for a reversal of fortune from a year ago.

In fact, he's already thinking about it.

"It would be really nice to kind of come back and play well this week and take care of that and not have to worry about four putting the last hole like I did last year at BMW," he said. "But that's what makes the FedEx Cup great. It has those kinds of stories that are there. You put a little bit more extra pressure on yourself than you normally should. I learned from that last year and hopefully this year I won't make the same mistake."

Snedeker started the week 53rd in the FedEx Cup standings, but a victory here south of Boston would guarantee a spot at the Tour Championship. The top 30 make the field at East Lake.

Snedeker has been virtually mistake-free at TPC Boston so far. After opening with a bogey on his first hole, he posted eight birdies to climb into familiar territory atop the leaderboard. On three separate occasions in his career, he has held or shared the 36-hole lead, only to finish outside of the winner's circle each time.

This is a different, more battle-tested Snedeker, though. He's dealt with the adversity from last year's much-publicized, final-hole failure and while he hasn't shied away from talking about it, he has put the episode behind him.

"It was tough watching the Tour Championship feeling like I should have been there," he explained. "But it's kind of one of those things you have to let it brush off your back and kind of move on."

Snedeker now has a chance to move on not only figuratively but literally, as he tries to make up for last year by qualifying for East Lake and the subsequent majors. So far there is no heartache and no cringing, only hope that this opportunity turns out better than the last.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.

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