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Snedeker, Hahn tied for the lead at Pebble

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 9:24 p.m.

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 birdie on the last three holes to join Snedeker at 12-under 202. Chris Kirk birdied his last hole at Monterey Peninsula for a 64 and was one shot behind the leaders.

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.

Snedeker hasn't had a better chance to win all year. He was seven shots behind Woods and six shots behind Mickelson going into the final round. Now he is tied with Hahn.

Snedeker's streak started with a 69-69 weekend on the South Course at Torrey Pines. In his last nine rounds, his average score is 67.8. The difference has been his driving, which went from a weakness to strength late last summer when he won the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.

He might be the hottest player in golf — except for winning.

“I've had a couple chances the last couple weeks — haven't been the best chances,” Snedeker said. “And this week, I have a great chance going into tomorrow.”

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