Brandt Snedeker is back to playing like the rising young PGA Tour star he was supposed to be.
The 29-year-old Tennessean rolled in his sixth birdie of the day on No. 17 and finished at 14-under-par 199 for a one-shot lead over Scott Piercy in the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Snedeker shot a 66, while Piercy had a pair of eagles en route to a 65 in the third round yesterday amid a loud, rowdy crowd estimated at just over 121,000.
Rickie Fowler (69) and Matt Every (68) were two back at 12 under. Camilo Villegas, who shared the lead with Mark Wilson after two rounds, birdied the last two holes to finish even for the day and minus-11 for the tournament.
The sky was overcast with a threat of rain at TPC Scottsdale, and the wind kicked up late in the day. Perhaps that’s why the crowd was more than 40,000 shy of the estimated 164,000 who attended on Saturday a year ago.
But the scene was as wild as usual at the notorious 16th hole, where bleachers surround the par-3 and fans have special chants for virtually every golfer. The good shots draw lusty cheers, the bad ones loud boos.
“It was crazy,’’ Snedeker said. “You’ve got to take it with a grain of salt and realize golf needs that. We need people out here having fun, being excited about being at a golf tournament.
“If you can’t take it for one hole, good God, get over yourself and have some fun.’’
Snedeker was the 2007 Rookie of the Year, but his victory at the Wyndham Championship that season remains his lone PGA Tour win.
He struggled early last year, missing the cut 12 of 26 times, and was sidelined eight weeks by a rib injury.
LPGA - Juli Inkster and Ai Miyazato each shot 3-under 69 to share a two-shot lead at 7-under 209 after the third round of the
Hall of Famer Inkster, 49, who hasn’t won a title since 2006, could become the oldest victor in LPGA history. Beth Daniel was 46 when she won the Canadian Open in 2003.
Miyazato, who won the season opener last week in Thailand, pulled even with a 30-foot putt for eagle on No. 16.
Michelle Wie had a 69 to trail the leaders by five strokes.