Steve Stricker has a well-deserved reputation on the PGA Tour as one of the most reliable players with a flat stick in his hands. So when Tiger Woods’ putter whisperer claims Brandt Snedeker is "the best putter I’ve ever seen," that’s saying something.
"He’s good," Stricker told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands about his opening-round playing partner, Snedeker, who earned the kudos after birdying seven straight holes on his way to a bogey-free 63 and a one-shot clubhouse lead over Zach Johnson after 18 holes of the BMW Championship.
"And he expects to make them," Stricker said about the player ranked fourth on tour in strokes gained-putting. "A good putter expects to make putts, and he definitely expects to make them and they look like they’re all going to go in, too."
Snedeker, the winner of last year’s $10 million FedExCup prize, entered the third of four playoff games at ninth in the standings. He left the 18th green on Thursday projected to advance to next week’s Tour Championship atop the standings, with Tiger Woods (66) maintaining his second-place spot.
"I’m trying to stay out of my head," the fast-playing, faster-talking Snedeker told Sands after his first round. "I was rolling the ball so well and seeing the lines so well, I knew if I could just hit some greens and get some momentum going, I’d have a lot of good looks at it.
"Just made a couple of long putts and got some good breaks there," said Snedeker, who kicked his day off on the 10th hole and began his birdie barrage on No. 13.
Snedeker started the season on a tear, recording four top-three finishes in four events, including a win at Pebble Beach in February, before a nagging rib injury knocked him off his stride. Since his health returned, the six-time tour winner has been on the go, playing in seven consecutive events and notching his second win of the season at the Canadian Open in July.
"Mentally, I was pretty drained," Snedeker said about his non-stop schedule that only a bye week after the Deutsche Bank Championship interrupted. "It was good to get home and get refreshed and realize, two great tournaments left.
"Excited about my chances of possibly getting in there and having a chance at East Lake," said Snedeker, who appears ready to become the first FEC champion in the short, six-year history of the playoffs, to return to the season finale and defend his title.
Woods ended his day by bombing in a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole (No. 9) to get into a tie for third, with Stricker, Charl Schwartzel, and Kevin Streelman.