Brandt Snedeker had his game on “Cruise Control” from the time he hit his first tee shot on Sunday at the AT & T Pebble Beach National ProAm. Phil Mickelson was safely out of contention, and Tiger Woods was not playing, the only thing in his way this weekend was tour rookie James Hahn. Hahn matched him shot for shot until he missed his eagle putt on the second hole, and you knew it was going to be Brandt Snedeker’s turn to win his first tournament of 2013.
The win at the West Coast Mecca of golf on Sunday was Brandt’s fifth on the PGA Tour, and puts him in solid control of the FedEx Cup points with a 700 point lead. When the World Rankings come out today, he should be in fourth place behind only Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and Luke Donald. No one on the planet has played better since the FedEx Cup playoffs last season.
Snedeker shot a -7 under par 65 in the final round, but got a little scare at the ninth hole where he run his first putt 15 feet past the cup and missed the par putt coming back for his only bogey of the day. If you thought that scared him, you didn’t see his bold birdie at the next hole. Unlike most of his pursuers who were showing the dangerous greens at Pebble Beach, a lot of respect, Snedeker continued to be aggressive all afternoon with the flat stick .
Chris Kirk, who was playing well in the next to last group, put enough pressure on Snedeker to force him to play the dangerous 18th hole very conservatively. Kirk took solid possession of second place with four birdies down the stretch, including a four at 18. The former Georgia Bulldog ended at -17 under par, two shots back.
James Hahn had a share of the 54 hole lead, and played in the final group. He played well for a rookie, but was no match for Snedeker on this day. His birdie at the second hole was a short missed eagle putt, and he looked to have some nerves come into play. He made birdies at the fourth, and sixteenth holes, but was never a factor. He finished in a tie for third place with Jimmy Walker, and Kevin Stadler.
The only thing left for the 32 year old pro from Nashville, and Vanderbilt grad, is a Major Championship. Brandt Snedeker said in an interview after the win, that he knows the one thing he needs on his resume to be considered with the best in the world, is a major. He also said he is exhausted after being in contention for three weeks in a row, and will not play at Riveria next weekend, but will be back for the WGC Match Play Championships the following week.
Snedeker has finished well in all of the majors with T3’s at both the 2008 Masters, and the 2012 British Open, a T8 at the 2010 US Open, and a T18 at the 2007 PGA Championship. Everyone talks about his skill with the flat stick, but his other big asset is his driver. He is long enough to be competitive, and very accurate. He has all of the tools in the bag to win a Green Jacket, and I think 2013 will be the year he gets the monkey off his back, and a major championship on his resume.
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