Snedeker & Rose Share Lead in Tour Championship

Brandt Snedeker fired a 6-under 64 to join Justin Rose as the co-leaders of the Tour Championship through 54 holes. The $8 million season-ending event on the PGA Tour started Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Snedeker, a 31-year-old from Nashville, carded three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back to reach 8-under 202 to share the lead with Rose, who posted his second straight 68.

"It was probably one of the best rounds I've played this year," said Snedeker, who hit 71 percent of the fairways and needed 29 putts. "I drove it fantastic. Hit a lot of quality iron shots, and putted actually okay for me, not great. I left a lot of putts out there.

"To hit 17, 18 greens, in this wind on the golf course, you're striking your ball pretty good. I'm very excited about the standings going into tomorrow." (See below for Snedeker's full post-round interview.)

Rose tipped his cap to Snedeker's outstanding effort and the Tennessean's good position in the FedEx Cup standings heading into Sunday. "Every credit to him," Rose said. "He's having a very solid week, as I expected him to. And Brandt, you've got to give him credit. I know he got off to a rough start on Thursday, and to climb back and tie for the lead being in that sort of vital top five is a wonderful performance. So he's going to be the one out of the two of us thinking about it overnight."

Ryan Moore had Saturday's second-lowest round, a 65, to rise into solo third at 204. The Puyallup, Wash., native posted six birdies and a bogey, with the latter coming on the par-4 17th.

"It was a good, solid day," said the 29-year-old Moore. "Just a tough golf course, especially in the blustery conditions. I was just trying to play smart all day. I fortunately was hitting it in the fairway, and I got some good numbers with my irons and was able to attack a few times and hit some good shots in there. Really kind of got rolling in the middle of the round - made four birdies in a row - and kind of cruised from there."

Tied for fourth at 205 are Rory McIlroy (68), Bubba Watson (70) and Jim Furyk, who held the 36-hole lead with Rose. Furyk was sailing along in good shape and in the lead at 1-under par until he came to the 17th, where he found water off the tee and ended up making a triple-bogey seven. He parred the par-3 18th for a 3-over 73.

With such a tight leaderboard, there's an excellent chance of final-round fireworks as the player who emerges atop the FedEx Cup Playoffs points' standings will reap a $10 million bonus. The Tour Championship winner takes home $1.44 million.

McIlroy, who won the last two FedEx Cup events - the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship - and came to Atlanta as the overall points' leader, is relishing the prospects. "It's going to be one of the most exciting Sundays of the year," said the 23-year-old Northern Irishman.

"There are a few guys still in it with a chance to win the FedEx Cup to win this tournament. So looking forward to it. Great to be in the mix. Only three back, so I'm excited about the prospect of a very exciting finish tomorrow."

Tied for seventh at 206 are Tiger Woods (67), Robert Garrigus (69), Matt Kuchar (70) and Bo Van Pelt (71), while sharing 11th at 207 are Luke Donald (67) and Zach Johnson (70). Webb Simpson (70) and Dustin Johnson (73) are in 13th at 209.

Woods isn't thinking of a big payday; he's only searching for a win. "That's not why we play," said the two-time FedEx Cup champion when asked about the possibility of earning $10 million. "I'm playing for the 'W,' and tomorrow I get a great shot at it. You know, all the money and awards and all of that stuff that comes along with winning championships. That's the way I've always looked at it, and right now I'm four back. If I win the golf tournament, everything's kind of taken care of."

Donald agreed with Woods. "You don't really think about money when you're on the golf course, but afterwards," said the Englishman.

Rounding out the 30-player field in the no-cut tournament are Louis Oosthuizen (69) in 15th at 210; Adam Scott (70), Scott Piercy (71), Jason Dufner (71) and Rickie Fowler (72) at 211; Hunter Mahan (71) and Phil Mickelson (72) at 212; Sergio Garcia (71), Keegan Bradley (70), Steve Stricker (73), John Senden (73) and Carl Pettersson (75) at 213; John Huh (73) at 217; Ernie Els (71) at 218; and Nick Watney (70) at 219. In last place at 221 is Lee Westwood, who posted a 76 Saturday

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MODERATOR: Brandt Snedeker joins us here at the Tour Championship by Coca Cola after a 6 under, par 64. Brandt, sensational play, if we can just get some comments.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it was probably one of the best rounds I've played this year. I drove it fantastic. Hit a lot of quality iron shots, and putted actually okay for me, not great. I left a lot of putts out there. To hit 17, 18 greens, in this wind on the golf course, you're striking your ball pretty good. I'm very excited about the standings going into tomorrow.

Q. Do you have any thoughts for tomorrow? You're right there.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, exactly. My first goal for this week is achieved, and that is to have a chance going into Sunday. I think something like 90 something percent of the PGA Tour winners come from the last two groups, and that's where I want to be in those last two groups. So I know get I get a chance to do that tomorrow, and it should be a lot of fun.

Q. Brandt, are you at the point in your career where you don't think about the money, and if so, was there a time when you did, and was it important to guest past that?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think as rookies out here, you always look at that money list when you're not securing your card, wondering what's going on. Now that I've been out here for a while, I realize you don't play for money, otherwise you'll be 80 to 125 every year on the money list. You play to win championships and the money comes with that, which is great. You know, I'm going out there to win a golf tournament tomorrow, and whatever comes of that, is great.

Q. As of right now, Jim's tied for the lead with you. The question is, is Davis that smart or are you making him look that smart?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think we both felt a little extra pressure to play well this week. You always want to make sure that your captains look good. And we definitely took that on as a - we know how you guys like to write it up if we're not playing great (laughing). And we definitely wanted to make sure he looked smart going into the Ryder Cup.

Q. Has it freed you up mentally once you you've made the team to play better since then?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I think it's definitely taken a weight off my shoulders. There was a lot of pressure the first two weeks after the playoffs. I answered the bell. I played great. I think BMW was a little bit of a letdown. I was still playing pretty good, but I after being named to the Ryder Cup team, I didn't get back into the swing of things, so last week was great to kind of get refreshed and get my mind where it needs to be to try to win this golf tournament.

Q. If you can look big picture for a second. All 12 members of the team are here. Many of you are in contention with a chance to win. How does that make you feel about next week, just the fact that everybody's playing so well?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I think it's great. I think the fact that we're all here, playing the week before the Ryder Cup, playing on a tough golf course, getting mentally prepared to grind ourselves out, get in the grind, I think the Ryder Cup is going to be giving us all a lot of confidence. That being said, we all know what we need to work on Tuesday through Thursday to get ready, and there are a lot of Euros that are ready to go too. So it's going to be a great event. We're looking forward to it.

Q. You've won this year from behind. Would it mean more to win from ahead?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yes, it's something I've not done in my career. I've never had a lead going into Sunday and won. So that's kind of the next evolution, the next step in becoming a world class player. It's knowing that you can do that, and I need to show that I can do that.

Q. Next week Ryder Cup, I think it's 10 of 11 weeks you'll have played, which probably nobody's ever done. What did you do last week in your off week? I know you went to Medinah. But did you just lie around and rest?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Slept, slept a lot. It was great. I was home a lot. I hadn't seen my family a whole lot, so I was just home in Nashville and practiced a little bit later in the week. Took a few days off, and got the itch by the weekend and got out there and started practicing again, and I was able to get my mind right for this week.

Q. What do you do when you take a day off? Let's go hour by hour here?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: What do you do when you take a day off?

Q. I don't.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yes, you do. I know you do. I'm home. Things you don't realize that you don't get to do. I don't get to have breakfast with my daughter very often. I don't get to take her to lunch or get her up from a nap or take her to do something fun in the afternoon or go to the zoo or something like that. Little stuff like that that you like to do. It's a little weird to have Mondays and Tuesdays where you're out having lunch and messing around all day and everybody else is working. But that's kind of a typical day. I'm really a homebody when I'm home. I don't like to do a whole lot and try to rest up.

Q. Is this your best round of the year so far?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think so. It's definitely one of my best, for sure, just because it was so tough today. The wind was so hard to hit the fairways here because the wind seemed like it would move the ball four or five yards one way or the other, and these fairways might be 15 yards wide, so you don't have a lot of room to play with. Just every iron shot has to be hit so crisply to control your distances and I did a great job of that today.

Q. You were 1 of 5 guys coming in this week that controlled their own destiny, but you've flown under the radar. Have you relished that?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's great. I love it. Try to do it every week.

Q. You'll have the advantage now of playing in the last group and seeing how things unfold in front of you here tomorrow. How much calculating are you going to be doing?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: None. I actually won't look at the leaderboard all day. My goal tomorrow is to shoot as low as I possibly can. If that's 63, 63. If it's 72, it's 72. Whatever it is, it's going to be everything I've got on that golf course tomorrow.

Q. Granted you don't play for money, you play for titles. But with this title would come a lot of money. Does that increase the pressure at all?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: No, I don't think so. I think the biggest thing tomorrow is going to be how patient you can stay because this golf course eats guys up that don't stay patient. With all that extra stuff that goes with the FedEx Cup Championship and the Tour Championship, there are so many reasons to get antsy. So you have to do an unbelievable job of staying patient. I've been around Tiger a bunch, and Phil a bunch, and Luke, and those guys have played great golf under serious pressure, and you see them. Their patience is amazing. That's why they're the best at what they do. That's my goal tomorrow is to stay as patient as I possibly can.

Q. I know it's projecting a bit, but should you win tomorrow, and should you pick up all of that money, and then you turn right around for next week. Have you given that any thought about would that make next week easier? Would it make next week harder?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm not going to play Monday. Monday I'm going to take off because it's what I normally do. I've heard how long a week next week is because we don't play till Friday. Monday will be an off day for me regardless of what happens here. I think if anything, if I win here tomorrow, it will give me a ton of confidence going into next week. To play as well as I have on these fields against the best in the world and to come out here with a win tomorrow, there is nobody in the world I shouldn't be able to play against on any given day. I'd love to have that confidence and momentum going into the Ryder Cup.

Q. What's been the biggest obstacle keeping you from winning from ahead? Has it been mental or physical?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Mental, for sure. I'm a jumpy guy to say the least. I think you all have noticed that. So my biggest thing is trying to stay patient under the gun, and realizing that not every shot is a make or break shot on Sunday. If there's time to get back, there is always more time, always another shot. So just stay super patient and see what happens.

Q. You sort of answered my question. You tossed that word patience around a couple of minutes ago. I wanted to know what it meant to you, and I think you covered that.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's just not putting more pressure on the shot than there already is. There is no make or break shot tomorrow. Every shot tomorrow is the exact same as it was today, and the exact same as it was on Thursday, to really embrace that. I did a great job today of staying patient. I missed four putts on the first four holes from inside 15 feet for birdie. You don't have those kind of opportunities around here very often. I did a great job of staying patient, and when you do that, you tend to have some success.

Q. Would you mind going over some of your birdies? And some of the more exciting ones?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I made a 25 footer today on No. 5 for birdie, which is a good birdie. That's a tough hole, kind of got the round going. I had a good 7 iron into 7 and made about a 15 footer for birdie there. 9, I hit it in the front bunker in two, and got it up and down. 10, I hit a good 9 iron to about 15 feet behind the hole, and that is the best putt I made all day. I made about a 15 footer, left to right, downhill snake putt, made that one which was great. I birdied the par 5. The other par 5 on the back 15 or 14 - 15. Hit it just over the green in two and got it up and down. Made about an 8 footer for birdie there. And 17 I hit a gap wedge to about 10, 15 feet, somewhere in there, and I was able to snake that one in there.

Q. We've talked about this before and I think I just missed it. But why didn't you play in the Walker Cup?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: You have to ask the USGA. They didn't pick me.

Q. They didn't pick you, but why wouldn't they?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't have these answers. I've tried to search them for six months afterwards and couldn't get one.

Q. That's my question. How much did that sting?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: It hurt a lot. I think everything that happens in your career happens for a reason. It definitely gave me a fire because I felt like I had proven that I was one of the best players in the world or best amateurs in the world. I went on after the Ryder Cup, I had to stay amateur until Augusta. Wound up being the number one ranked amateur in the world, right before I turned pro after Augusta to try to prove a point to them that they should have put me on the team. But that's the way stuff happens sometimes. Still frustrated about it (laughing).

Q. Have you ever played foursomes? Or even four balls?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: No, I have not. I have not. Any advice?

Q. Do you think I have?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't know. You covered it for a bunch of years.

Q. Have you learned patience as a parent that can translate on to the course tomorrow?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think that the biggest thing I've learned is priorities from being a parent and realizing how unimportant in the grand scheme of things tomorrow really is. My coach is going through a tough time right now. His son was in a bad car accident last week, so it's really kind of made all of us who know Todd kind of refocus everything and realize what's really important. So that's been a great help to us. My family, my career, it was kind of a wake up call to us all to make sure what's really important. This is just a golf tournament.

It's been kind of a blessing. It's not a blessing. It's a horrible thing, but it definitely gives you more, I guess, more focus, more reality of what's really going on. So being a parent I think has helped a bunch in that too, realizing what's really important. It's done a great job of getting me unfocused off golf.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.