Brandt Snedeker is one step closer to following in the footsteps of Ryder Cup team mate and 2015 Fiji International Champion Matt Kuchar as he takes a three shot lead into the final round of the 2016 Fiji International.
Starting round three one shot off the lead, Snedeker made his presence known on a challenging day where his experience shone through.
“It was it was a tough day. It was also a day where you want to go real low,” said Snedeker.
“Starting the day out I was trying to shoot a couple under par. I did a great job of hanging in there.”
Snedeker fired 2-under 70 as the ubiquitous winds synonymous with Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course impacted the entire field.
“With conditions as tough as they are and with a lot of big numbers out there, there could possibly be a weight on you,” added Snedeker.
“I did a good job of hanging in there and giving myself a chance. Going in there tomorrow I’ve got to go in and finish it off.”
“A three shot lead doesn’t really matter, with wind like this is, it’s one hole.”
While Snedeker was a part of the winning Ryder Cup team last week, tomorrow he chases his first win since the Farmers Insurance Open in February.
“I had a couple of chances late in the year, I’m going to count the Ryder Cup as a win, but my first one since February,” added Snedeker, who won at Torrey Pines in terrible conditions.
“Today reminded me of the win. Besides the fact that it’s actually warm and it’s not raining, it’s pretty similar wind wise.”
“I definitely draw on that a lot. When I get tough conditions I know I can do it as I’ve done it before.”
“I pulled some shots out of the memory bank that I hit there that were important today and I’m sure I’ll pull them out again tomorrow.”
Playing alongside Snedeker were Anthony Houston and second round leader Matthew Giles.
Snedeker sang the praises of the young player’s determination and ability to hold on during the harsh day.
“Today was going to be a tough day for them, I knew it. There’s a lot of pressure on those guys to perform and their careers are riding on how they are playing right now,” added Snedeker.
“They went out there and did a great job of staying patient and kind of hanging in there and I was really impressed.”
“It could have gone south on them pretty quickly and I look forward to seeing them again tomorrow.”
Despite shooting 1-over today, Houston was also pleased with his mental approach on course, continuing to grind rather than let the day defeat him.
“I was struggling mid-round. In the past I would give it away and drop a few more shots but I really hung in there,” said Houston, who won the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School in January.
“You never want to lose it and just give up when you’re playing with such a good person like Brandt.”
“I’m sure he’s been where I was before and did the right things so I want to do the right things too.”
Despite the taxing golf, Houston relished the opportunity to play alongside Snedeker, saying the World Number 23 made him feel very relaxed on course.
“He’s an awesome guy. I didn’t even have to talk to him a lot, he would talk to me. He’s just such a genuine guy for such a superstar,” added Houston.
“Brandt doesn’t make you feel like you’re playing with someone so good because he’s just so nice and he almost keeps you relaxed as well.”
Tomorrow Houston will play with Snedeker again but the pressure will be even more enhanced. He will be chasing a win in the hopes that he will join his best mate and Australian PGA Champion Nathan Holman on the European Tour.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t know what was up for grabs at the end of this,” added Houston.
“Nathan and I have been best mates since we were 12, coming through the same golf club. I know I can play as good as him (Nathan Holman) on his day but his bad days are just more consistent.”
“So I’ve just got to make mine the same and I think that’s just what I did today.”
At 8-under the card Matthew Giles is outright third after shooting 3-over the card in round three.
New Zealanders Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison round out the top-5 on 7-under the card.
The final round of the Fiji International tees off at 8am with the final group of Matthew Giles, Anthony Houston and Brandt Snedeker are on course at 10am.