Snedeker goes into 60s again; Reed two back

Brandt Snedeker, left, lines up his putt as waves crash behind the seventh green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament  Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Brandt Snedeker, left, lines up his putt as waves crash behind the seventh green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Goes into 60s again; Reed just two back

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Brandt Snedeker had his ninth straight round in the 60s on Saturday. One more like that and he might really have reason to celebrate.

Snedeker ran off four straight birdies along the prettiest part of Pebble Beach for a 4-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with 31-year-old rookie James Hahn going into the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

A runner-up in consecutive weeks to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, this time the spotlight belongs to Snedeker.

“You never know what tomorrow holds, but I feel like I’m in great position, and I’m going to be surely more prepared, no matter who is around me in the last group,” Snedeker said. “I’m probably going to have the most experience of anybody in those last couple groups of winning a golf tournament.”

Former University High golfer Patrick Reed shot a third-round 67 and is just two shots off the pace at 10-under going into Sunday’s final round.

Hahn had a 66 at Spyglass Hill, making birdie on the last three holes to join Snedeker at 12-under 202. Chris Kirk birdied his last hole at Monterey Peninsula for a 64 and was one shot behind the leaders.

Snedeker hasn’t had a better chance to win all year. He was seven shots behind Woods and six shots behind Mickelson going into the final round. Now he is tied with Hahn, who until now was best known for “Gangnam” celebration of his birdie on the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open.

Snedeker, who missed a pair of birdie putts inside 10 feet early in the round, began his big run with a 3-wood up the hill and onto the green at the par-5 sixth for a two-putt birdie. He followed with a 10-foot birdie on the seventh, and then hit two of his best shots on two of the toughest holes at Pebble — a 7-iron over a corner of the ocean to about 5 feet below the hole on the eighth, and a baby cut with an 8-iron that plopped down 4 feet away for a birdie on the ninth.

He didn’t make many putts the rest of the way, however, and had to settle for a 68.

Snedeker’s streak started with a 69-69 weekend on the South Course at Torrey Pines. In his last nine rounds, his average score is 67.8. The difference has been his driving, which went from a weakness to strength late last summer when he won the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.

He might be the hottest player in golf — except for winning.

“You want to win any time you have a chance because you don’t know how many times you’re going to get that in a year,” Snedeker said. “I’ve had a couple chances the last couple weeks— haven’t been the best chances. And this week, I have a great chance going into tomorrow. And you need to capitalize on those chances.”

Snedeker missed four birdie putts inside 10 feet, including the last two holes. He badly misjudged the break on an 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th and made a weak effort from 8 feet on the 18th hole.

“The last two really upset me because I felt like I really stayed patient all day and had done a great job and hit two great shots on the last couple of holes,” Snedeker said.