He was two shots behind Cabrera when he made the turn, having gamely fought back from two early bogeys with a birdie at the 8th. Snedeker sprayed a drive into the trees at the 10th, pitched out and chipped close, leaving himself a downhill two-footer for par. His putt was an admittedly tentative effort, the memory of Saturday's lightning quickness still fresh in his mind, and the attempt lipped out.
Snedeker three-putted from long range for another bogey at the 11th, then pushed his second shot with a hybrid at the 13th and watched it splash into Rae's Creek. Though he saved par, he needed to make birdie there. His chances basically ended at 14, when his approach shot spun off the front of the green and he missed a 10-footer for par. "One loose swing at 13 cost me a little and one loose swing on 10, the short putt, really cost me," he said after a final-nine, three-over 39.
The final result, five shots back and in a tie for sixth, doesn't tell the story of just how close Snedeker came. The week did leave him with renewed determination and high expectations. He plans to contend at the U.S. Open at Merion, and he knows his game can hold up. Still, this disappointment stings. His face was flushed and his eyes moistened briefly as he fielded questions afterward, but if there were any tears this time, they were masked by steady raindrops falling from a gray Augusta sky.
"It's going to be a tough night," Snedeker said. And then he smiled, more or less.