Snedeker shot an 8-under 63 at the Conway Farms Golf Club in the opening round of the season's next-to-last event on the PGA Tour.
The top 70 on the FedEx Cup points list are competing this week and that number will be cut to 30 for next week's Tour Championship in Atlanta.
A win next week by any of those in the top five on the points list will give that player the FedEx Cup and the $10 million that goes with it.
Snedeker went into this week's event in ninth place, but a victory would move him into the top five and could jump him all the way into the No. 1 spot. He began last year's Tour Championship in fifth place and eventually won that tournament as well as the FedEx Cup title.
Current points leader Henrik Stenson, who moved into the top spot two weeks ago with a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship, shot a 1-over 72.
There were 28 sub-par rounds turned in at Conway Farms, which is hosting a PGA Tour event for the first time. Ten percent of the field, however, shot 77 or higher.
Snedeker began on the back nine and started his birdie run at the par-4 13th. He birdied the final six holes on the back side and the first hole on the front nine, finishing his round without a bogey.