Snyder Moves Out Front in Mississippi

By Sports NetworkNovember 5, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Southern Farm Bureau ClassicMADISON, Miss. -- PGA Tour rookie Joey Snyder III shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take the lead heading into the final round at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
 
Snyder, whose best finish this season was a sixth-place tie at the International in August, stands at 16-under-par 200 for a one-shot lead at Annandale Golf Club.
 
It is the first time Snyder has ever held a lead after 54 holes on the PGA Tour. In fact, the 32-year-old has never been higher than seventh entering the final round.
 
'There are a lot of other places that you could be, and I'm certainly glad that I am playing well now,' said Snyder. 'Well enough to at least be in contention.'
 
Snyder's career first is all the more impressive considering the low-scoring field this week, which is minus the top-30 players on the money list who were eligible to play at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
 
All but one of the 75 players remaining in the field are even-par or better through three rounds -- a remarkable stat made possible, in part, by the 34 rounds fired in the 60s on Saturday.
 
At one point early in the morning there were 11 players tied for the lead at minus-10.
 
The low scores resulted in a crowded leaderboard with 27 players finishing within six strokes of Snyder heading into the final round.
 
Heath Slocum and Loren Roberts are tied for second place at 15-under-par 201 after rounds of 64 and 66, respectively. If the 50-year-old Roberts can win on Sunday, he would become the third-oldest champion on the PGA Tour behind Sam Snead (52) and Art Wall (51).
 
'Obviously that would be great,' Roberts said of becoming a 50-year-old champion, 'but I am not even thinking about that.'
 
Carl Pettersson, who won the Chrysler Championship last week, fired a 7-under 65 and shares fourth place at minus-14 with rookie Kevin Stadler (66) and Tag Ridings (68).
 
Paul Gow (67) and Tom Byrum (68) are one stroke further back in seventh place. After that, 11 players are knotted at minus-11 and nine are tied at minus-10.
 
But they are all still looking up at Snyder, who played the par-5 holes at 5 under in his third round.
 
When Snyder reached his first par-5-- the fifth -- he was one of the 11 players tied for the lead at 10 under. He quickly moved to minus-12, though, by rolling in an 8-foot putt for his first eagle of the tournament.
 
Snyder also birdied the next par-5 -- No. 7 -- to get to 13-under around the turn.
 
Consecutive birdies at 11 and 12 moved him further into red numbers before he dropped a stroke with his only bogey of the round at the par-3 15th, where he knocked an 8-iron over the green.
 
Snyder rebounded with two birdies on his final three holes, including one at the par-5 18th. His eagle putt at the finishing hole came up an inch short, but Snyder wasn't complaining.
 
'[I] played the par-5s [at] 5 under par today, and you really can't ask for much more,' he said.
 
'Any time you can have a lead going into the final round or be close to the lead heading into the final round, birdies at the end of the day really help boost your confidence.'
 
Snyder has history on his side.
 
In the four Southern Farm Bureau Classics to go 72 holes since 2000, a lone player has held the 54-hole lead each time. And three of those players -- Steve Lowery (2000), John Huston (2003) and Fred Funk (2004) -- have gone on to win.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Southern Farm Bureau Classic
  • Full Coverage - Southern Farm Bureau Classic
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