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Updated Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 09:31 PM

Snedeker stays hot, holds share of lead into final round

By The Associated Press

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."

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

Ex-Washington Huskies player Richard H. Lee moved up 25 spots into fifth with a 66 at Pebble Beach and was three shots back at 9 under.

For all the celebrity antics that are part of the Saturday show at Pebble Beach, the video most likely to go viral belonged to Mickelson. The defending champion took a spill on the rocks below the 18th fairway. Mickelson was looking to see if his tee shot could be found — and played — when his right foot gave way and he landed hard on his back side, bracing the fall with his hands.

"I got lucky," Mickelson said. "I didn't get hurt."

Not physically, anyway. Mickelson hit his next shot into the Pacific Ocean and had to scramble for a triple bogey, leaving him 11 shots behind and ending his hopes of a record-tying fifth win at Pebble Beach.

Pebble Beach was simply majestic on Saturday, with a blazing sun shining across the Pacific Coast and temperatures in the upper 50s. But Hahn seems to thrive in any environment.

If he was secure enough to do the "Gangnam Style" dance before the rowdiest gallery in golf, then he should be OK in the final group at Pebble Beach with a round that could severely change his career path. At stake: a two-year exemption and a spot in the Masters.

Hahn is not one to allow himself to think too far ahead.

"I'm not even in next week's tournament, so to me, a top-10 finish would be great," Hahn said.

Ex-Husky Troy Kelly (71 at Spyglass) was tied for 56th at 1 under. Jeff Gove of Seattle and Andres Gonzales of Olympia were tied for 149th at 9 over.

Notes

Rocco Mediate shot an 11-under 61, setting a course record and building a three-shot lead over Tom Pernice Jr. heading into the final round of the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mediate, at 16 under, is trying to become the 16th player to win his first start on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.

Kirk Triplett, a Pullman High School graduate, was tied for 16th at 5 under.

• South Africans Richard Sterne and Trevor Fisher Jr. each shot a 4-under 68 to move five shots ahead of the European Tour field at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg.


EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES
Brandt Snedeker putts for a birdie en route to a 68, his ninth straight round in the 60s. He finished right behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson the past two weeks.




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