Snedeker in position to pip Rory to $10m bonus… but Rose ready to spoil pay day
22:50 GMT, 22 September 2012
American Ryder Cup player Brandt
Snedeker put himself in prime position to commit an outrageous $10
million act of sporting larceny at the FedEx Cup play-offs on Sunday.
This four tournament series,
dominated by Rory McIlroy and, to a lesser extent, Tiger Woods, has
appeared for all the world as if it would end in either the Northern
Irishman or his superstar rival collecting the mammoth bonus.
Now the two-horse race has developed a
third runner thanks to a flawless 64 on Saturday by the personable
Snedeker, the best putter in world golf alongside Luke Donald.
Poised to pounce: Can Brandt Snedeker steal the prize from under Rory McIlroy's nose
Tour Championship Leaderboard
Click here for all the latest scores
The equation for Snedeker and indeed Woods at the final play-off event, the Tour Championship, is a simple one on Sunday.
If they win this tournament, with its $1.44 million first prize, they collect the $10 million bonus as well.
Snedeker starts today tied for the
lead with Woods four adrift. McIlroy remains favourite because not only
is he right in the mix himself at just three off the pace, he can rely
on outside help.
Englishman Justin Rose is keeping
Snedeker company at the top, and if he wins, then the big cheque is
McIlroy's, provided he stays where he is in fourth spot, with no more
than two players for company.
Leader: Justin Rose tees off the 18th hole during the third round of the Tour Championship
What a wonderfully tense afternoon is
in prospect therefore, in the last action before all the attention
turns to the Ryder Cup.
Consider this scenario, for example.
If Rose happened to win, Snedeker finished second, and McIlroy remained
fourth with three players alongside him as was the case on Saturday,
Snedeker and McIlroy would finish on the same number of FedEX points and
so have a sudden death play-off for the bonus, with a mere $7 million
difference between first and second.
Still in contention: McIlroy remains in the hunt
Asked about the prospect of such a
play-off, McIlroy showed a nice line in perspective. 'There's no
downside when the worst thing that can happen to you is you walk away
with $3 million, is there' he said.
'I am really looking forward to
tomorrow. I think it is going to be one of the most exciting days of the
McIlroy began the third round in tied seventh spot and
moved up three places.
Winner of his last two events, the brilliant 23
year old shot his 11th consecutive round in the sixties with a composed
McIlroy pumped his fist after holing a 7ft putt for par at the last
and said: 'That gives me a bit of momentum heading into tomorrow, where I
will be looking for a fast start. I'm just thrilled to be in the mix
again. It is going to be great.'
Snedeker, who finished third at the
Open Championship, and has a runner-up finish and a tied sixth to his
name during the play-off series, said: 'This is the best golf of my
career in terms of it being over a relatively long stretch. I think I am
finally starting to believe in myself and that I belong at this level.'
Rose might say the same thing. From tee to green he has been as good as
anyone all season but here his short game has been up to the mark as
well. His chipping has been exemplary and crucially, he has been holing
putts as well.
Missed opportunity: Tiger Woods reacts to a putt that goes wide on the 11th hole
Rose is seeing the benefits of two marathon days spent
working on his short game last week. He's also got one eye on next
week's action at the Ryder Cup.
'It hurt to miss out on being part of a
winning team at Celtic Manor last time and this time I just want to show
what I can do,' he said.
Woods's topsy-turvy week continued. After
good Tiger on Thursday, when he shot 66, and awful Tiger on Friday, when
he collapsed to a 73, here he picked himself up again to return a 67
that leaves him in touch.
'The object was to get myself within a few
shots of the lead and give myself a shot of winning the tournament and
I've accomplished that, so I'm pleased,' he said.
Meltdown: Jim Furyk triple-bogeyed the 17th hole to slip down the leaderboard
After an indifferent
month's play, and particularly for someone noted for his consistency,
Donald has shown signs of normal service being resumed here, which must
be good news for Europe next week.
After hitting 15 greens in regulation
on Friday, here he found his putting touch as well to match the 67 shot
by his playing partner, Woods.
The highlight of Donald's round came
with the first eagle seen in this event on the tough par four 14th hole
at East Lake, where the Englishman's eight iron approach bounced twice
before disappearing into the hole.
He begins today five off the lead.
Right at the back of the 30 man field we find Lee Westwood, who mentally
seems to be already at Medinah. He shot 76.