By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA — Brandt Snedeker came up with what he called "probably one of the best rounds I’ve played this year" when it counted most.
And after that 64 on Saturday, Snedeker finds himself tied for the lead at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola — and in the catbird seat as far as the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus is concerned.
Snedeker and Justin Rose will start Sunday’s final round at East Lake at 8 under and leading Ryan Moore by two strokes. Rose held steady with his second-straight 68 while Moore had a 65 in the third round.
Snedeker, who finished second and sixth in the first two events of the FedExCup Playoffs, entered this week’s finale ranked fifth. As such, he is guaranteed the eye-opening bonus with a victory on Sunday — regardless of what anyone else in the field should do.
Now, the Vanderbilt product just has finish off the job.
"My first goal for this week is achieved, and that is to have a chance going into Sunday," Snedeker said. "I think something like 90 something percent of the PGA TOUR winners come from the last two groups, and that’s where I want to be in those last two groups.
“So I know get I get a chance to do that tomorrow, and it should be a lot of fun."
Snedeker, though, isn’t the only player who controls his own fate. Rory McIlroy, who entered the week ranked No. 1, trails by three with Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk, who triple bogeyed the 17th hole to fall out of a tie for the lead.
Tiger Woods, who came in ranked second in the FedExCup, is among four players are 4 under. McIlroy has dropped to second in the projections while Woods clocks in at No. 4 entering the final round.
Like Snedeker, either Woods or McIlroy can also win the FedExCup with a win at the TOUR Championship.
“It’s going to be one of the most exciting Sundays of the year,” McIlroy said. “There are a few guys still in it with a chance to win the FedExCup to win this tournament. So looking forward to it. Great to be in the mix. Only three back, so I’m excited about the prospect of a very exciting finish tomorrow.”
Rose, on the other hand, knows he needs a "little help from my friends," he said, smiling, in order to win the FedExCup. He came in 24th and knew, for example, he likely needed McIlroy to finish lower than 17th — and that doesn’t take into account the other players in the top five.
"Every credit to him," Rose said. "He’s having a very solid week, as I expected him to.
“And Brandt, you’ve got to give him credit.I know he got off to a rough start on Thursday, and to climb back and tie for the lead being in that sort of vital top 5 is a wonderful performance. So he’s going to be the one out of the two of us thinking about it overnight."
Rose plans to just focus on the TOUR Championship.
"The whole year we’ve been grinding for the FedExCup, and it’s still possible," he said. "It’s not an easy golf course. Things can happen out there. But for me, it’s about one tournament. I wish I would be in the situation that Brandt’s in. I would trade him, but obviously, that’s the position I’m in."