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Snedeker's slow start to '14 'tough to stomach'

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 15: James Hahn plays his second shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2016 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 15, 2016 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Brandt Snedeker usually starts his season about as fast as he plays and talks.

A year ago, he had a win and three other top 3s by mid-February. In 2012, he won in his second start. In 2011, he had three top 10s in his first seven appearances. In 2010, he finished second in his second start.

This year? Suffice it to say, he’s been a little slow out of the gates.

In nine starts Snedeker has managed only a pair of top 25s, and neither of those results came in full-field, stroke-play events. He seemed to be heading in the right direction Thursday at Bay Hill, however, where he carded a bogey-free 67 to sit five shots behind leader Adam Scott (62) at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“It’s been a struggle, to say the least,” Snedeker said. “It’s the first time in my career that I haven’t played well to this point. So it’s been tough to stomach. I’m working at it. I should be able to put it together, and I’m getting in my way a little too much.”

Snedeker’s struggles have been widespread. At this point in the season he is ranked 104th in total driving and 116th in greens hit, and even his go-to club, the putter, has let him down. After finishing in the top 20 in strokes gained-putting each of the past five years (including No. 1 in 2012), he is currently ranked 71st.

During Thursday’s opening 67, Snedeker took only 25 putts.