Despite rare penalty, Snedeker in contention at Augusta

Brandt Snedeker speaks with a rules official on the side of the 13th green, where his ball moved during a pair of practice swings. Snedeker had to take a one-shot penalty, but still managed to par the hole.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Brandt Snedeker will wake up in the Friday morning with a clear conscience, not to mention seeing his name near the top of the 2014 Masters leaderboard.

And he'll know that was a product of being patient when Augusta National can simply drive you mad. Snedeker fired a 2-under 70, all despite multiple missteps on each of the holes at Amen Corner.

"I like the challenge of this place and how much pressure it puts on you on every shot," Snedeker said.

He would have had every right to feel otherwise after a mid-round stumble that sent from a tie for the lead to fighting to stay in red numbers.

Snedeker would start with a bogey at the par-4 11th, failing to get to the green in regulation. That bogey seemed to move to the next tee, where Snedeker sent his tee ball long and left, finding the straw deep and rolling back into a bunker. He had to blast out, then two-putted from about 20 feet to save par.

Snedeker seemingly was in a position to clear those bogeys with an eagle chip at the par-5 13th, but while taking a pair of practice swings, the ball moved. Could it have been the wind?

"No, because on 13 green there is no wind," Snedeker said with a chuckle. "I saw it move. The only thing that could have moved it was me, so I knew it was me."

A penalty stroke and nice up-and-down later, and Snedeker played Amen Corner at 2 over.

"(The ball moving) was just one of those things that happens once in a blue moon and obviously did a great job getting that one up‑and‑down and not lose a shot there. So I had some stuff happen today that probably wouldn't happen on normal days, but that's how it is."

Snedeker would respond with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, although a closing bogey left him two off the lead.

"This golf course is right on the edge; it's in perfect shape, and they got it exactly how they want it. The pin positions today were brutal," said Snedeker, with not one ounce of complaint in his voice.

"There was not one gettable pin really out there where you felt like you can make a birdie and get it going. You had to hit some quality golf shots to make birdies."

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