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Former champ Snedeker contending at Heritage

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After sitting out the Masters for the first time in nearly a decade, Brandt Snedeker is thriving this week on a course he knows well.

Snedeker struggled with injuries last year, dropping out of the top 50 in the world rankings, and his bid to play his way into the Masters this spring was unsuccessful. As a result, he watched the season's first major from home last week for the first time since 2010.

But now he's back to work at the RBC Heritage, where he won in 2011 and tied for 11th last year, and the veteran is once again on the leaderboard after a 7-under 64 moved him to 8 under and within a shot of the clubhouse lead.

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"I feel like I've been playing this well for a while, and for whatever reason the scores haven't been there," Snedeker told reporters. "This week is about getting back to basics and doing what I do well, focusing on that, and I did a great job of that today. I went out and played some solid golf."

Snedeker started the day near the cut line after an opening-round 70, but his only bogey of the day was followed by five birdies over the next seven holes. At the end of the morning wave, he trailed Si Woo Kim and Ian Poulter by a shot.

Snedeker hasn't cracked the top 10 since the U.S. Open nearly a year ago, and his best chance came at the Valspar Championship where he played the final round alongside eventual runner-up Tiger Woods but closed with a 78 to tie for 31st. Following one of his most difficult stretches in recent memory, the 37-year-old is eager to see what's in store this weekend on a familiar layout.

"It was about as frustrating as I've ever been in my career for a long time. It's been tough," Snedeker said. "I feel like I'm working hard or harder than I ever have in my career. I feel like I'm doing all the stuff right. It's nice, kind of hit the reset button, to play golf and figure it out."