The RBC Canadian Open isn’t a major championship, but from Brandt Snedeker‘s reactions, you sure wouldn’t know it.
“Just ecstatic right now,” Snedeker said. “This is a tournament I said early on in my career I wanted to win just because my caddie (Scott Vail) is actually from Canada and it’s his national open. It meant a lot to him, meant a lot to me. Third-oldest tournament on tour and it’s got some great history to it, and now to put my name on that trophy, it means a lot.”
Snedeker, who took the 54-hole lead with a phenomenal eight-under round of 63 on Saturday, shot a solid round of 70 to hold on for the victory. The title is his second of the 2013 PGA Tour season and sixth of his career. He also won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, one of four top-three finishes he racked up in a hot start to the season.
“It feels great to get a win,” Snedeker said. “To validate all the hard work I’ve put in over the past three months where I haven’t played my best and know that I’m working on the right stuff and able to hold up under some pretty serious pressure this afternoon. To win a tournament like this with those pivotal holes coming down the stretch means a lot.”
Dustin Johnson was the one to put up that serious pressure. Johnson, who shot a 75 in Thursday’s opening round to put himself in pretty terrible shape for the weekend, had come back strong over the last two rounds, including a 63 on Saturday. He moved into a tie with Snedeker after making birdie on the par-4 16th, but followed that up with a tee shot out of bounds on 17, leading to a triple bogey.
Snedeker was pretty much flawless over the final six holes, and his own birdie on 16 basically sealed it.
This week’s performance shows that Snedeker is done with the roller coaster he’s been on since a rib injury sidelined him for several weeks in March. He missed two cuts after coming back to action, but also had five top-25s, including strong showings at all three majors so far.
The win moves Snedeker back into third place in the FedEx Cup standings as he attempts to defend his 2012 season championship. Of course, everybody’s attention Saturday was on then-leader Hunter Mahan leaving the tournament for the birth of his first child, daughter Zoe. That wasn’t lost on Snedeker.
“Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me … I can’t thank Kandi enough for going into labor early. I don’t know if I’d be sitting here if she hadn’t. But that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born, and it was the best decision I ever made. I’m sure Hunter would say the same thing.”
With Snedeker healthy and now firmly back in his top form, look for him to make some serious noise over the next several weeks. He appears to be peaking just in time for the playoffs, and that’s bad news for anybody with their eye on the big prize at the end of the year.