US PGA Championship - Snedeker feels close to unlocking Major key

Brandt Snedeker says he now knows what is needed for him to land a first Major title at this week's PGA Championship after a few close calls in the past.

Reuters
US PGA Championship - Snedeker feels close to unlocking Major key
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Brandt Snedeker (Reuters)

The fast-talking American clinched his second USTour victory of the season at the Canadian Open two weeks ago and believes he is close to replicating the sizzling form he produced at the start of the year.

Snedeker recorded four top-threes in his first five events, including a two-shot triumph at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, before he was sidelined for five weeks because of a sore rib cage.

"I feel really good about my game coming into this week, I feel good about having a better idea of what it takes to win one of these (Majors)," Snedeker told Reuters at Oak Hill Country Club while preparing for Thursday's opening round.

"I realise it's more of a marathon and not a sprint. I realise that you have to learn how to manage your mistakes, keep hanging in there and wait for good things to happen."

A six-times winner on the US Tour, Snedeker is delighted to be close to his best heading into the year's final Major.

"I am starting to play good," said the 32-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee. "I feel like I am playing like I was at the beginning of the year. I feel like I am close to playing some great golf.

"I am a lot more relaxed now and I'm a lot more into the process and realising that a lot more goes into winning Majors than just hitting the golf ball good.

"You've got to do a lot. You have to think well, you have to hit the ball in the right spots, you've got to get up and down when you need to, that kind of stuff."

Snedeker has posted five top-10s in the majors, including ties for third at the 2008 Masters and the 2012 Open, but it was his victory in last year's Tour Championship that proved to him he could beat the world's best when it counted.

"That was really good," Snedeker said of his three-shot triumph at the season-ending Tour Championship where he also earned FedExCup honours and the eye-popping $10 million (£6.5 million) bonus.

"Any time you beat one of the best fields in golf, take the lead into the last round with Tiger (Woods) and Rory (McIlroy) and everybody right there and being able to win, gives you a lot of confidence. You know you can do it."

Snedeker, who is known for being one of the best putters in the game, is especially pleased that he achieved both of his US Tour wins this year after holding at least a share of the lead going into the final round.

"I've just got to do that more often, give myself more chances," he smiled. "I know you're not going to win them all but the more chances I keep giving myself in these Majors, the better chance I have of winning one."

Snedeker likes the look of Oak Hill's challenging East Course, which this week will be staging the PGA Championship for a third time.

"It's a great test from tee to green," he said. "You have to drive the ball in play. It tests every club in your bag, and there's 10 different ways to play every hole.

"You can hit driver on most of them if you want to or you can lay back with a three-iron and put the emphasis on your iron play. So it's just what you feel comfortable with.

"But, like any major, it's going to come down to putting. You've got to make those 10-footers, those eight-footers for pars because this golf course is really, really tough. Anywhere around par (in total) is going to win."

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