Sports and Scores
 

Snedeker finally gets a win

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By DOUG FERGUSON


Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) With one last birdie, Brandt Snedeker finally had a chance to catch his breath at one of the best places in golf.

He was on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach with a three-shot lead Sunday as he gazed into the sun at an endless ocean and tried to grasp just how far he has come in the past few months.

There was that big win at the Tour Championship to claim the $10 million prize as the FedEx Cup champion.

He played in his first Ryder Cup.

In his past nine tournaments, he has six finishes in the top three, including back-to-back weeks as the runner-up to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Snedeker wasn't about to let anyone get in his way at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

"Just hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I had the last couple of months," Snedeker said after his two-shot win. "Something you dream about. Something you think that you can do, but you don't really know until you actually put it together. And I have.

"I'm really enjoying this, and hopefully can parlay this into the best year of my career."

He was the best all week at Pebble Beach, finishing at 19-under 267 to break by one shot the tournament record. Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997) each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills was still in the rotation.

Snedeker built his lead in the final round by playing the opening seven holes in 5 under, fired at the flag on the par-3 17th to set up his last birdie and closed with a 7-under 65, his 10th consecutive round in the 60s.

A tap-in par on the 18th gave him a two-shot win over Chris Kirk, who stayed in the hunt all day without ever putting too much pressure on Snedeker.

The hottest player in golf, Snedeker finally has a trophy to show for it.

"The last two weeks, playing great but running into two Hall of Famers, really motivated me to go out and prove that I can handle the lead," he said.

With his fifth career win - and fourth over the past 22 months - Snedeker improved to a career-best No. 4 in the world, making him the second-highest American in the world ranking behind Woods.

"Sneds is officially the best golfer on the planet right now," Ian Poulter tweeted from home in Orlando, Fla. "Some serious golf he is playing."

In five starts this year, the 32-year-old from Nashville already has a win, two second-place finishes and a third. He never had much of a chance against Woods at Torrey Pines or Mickelson at the Phoenix Open, who each had big leads going into the final round.

Snedeker was tied with James Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie from the Bay Area, and seized control with an eagle and three birdies on the opening seven holes. Snedeker responded to his only bogey, a three-putt at No. 9, by rolling in birdie putts on the next two holes.

Hahn was looking forward to learning something from his debut in the final group, and he saw Snedeker put on a clinic.

"I learned that he is a better guy than he is a golfer. The dude is world class," Hahn said. "He's obviously one of the best, if not the best golfer right now, and possibly for the last year. But how he conducts himself as a person on an off the golf course, that's also world class. He deserved to win today. ... I'm sure if you ask him, it was never a doubt that he was going to win the golf tournament."

Snedeker concurred.

"I definitely didn't want to do anything but win today," he said. "I was out there for one purpose and one purpose only, and I was extremely focused all day. I did a great job of staying patient and I did a great job of playing the golf course the way you're supposed to play it."

He now heads off to a vacation on Maui before returning for the stretch run leading to the Masters.

Winning a major is the next step for Snedeker, who has emerged as a veritable threat wherever he plays with a confident putting stroke and a dramatic increase in hitting fairways off the tee.

Kirk never got closer than two shots of the lead, missing an 8-footer on the 16th that could have put some pressure on Snedeker. He closed with a 66 to finish at 269, a score that would been good enough to win all but four times at Pebble Beach since this event began in 1937.

"We've had a lot of tournaments like that on tour this year where somebody has really just kind of blitzed the field," Kirk said. "I felt like I played well enough to win a golf tournament and came up a little bit short."

Hahn wound up with a 2-under 70 and tied for third with Jimmy Walker (66) and Kevin Stadler (65). The day wasn't a total loss for Hahn. He previously tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge, and his tie for third gets him into Riviera next week. He hasn't missed a cut this year and is already 11th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The only drama on a pristine day on the Monterey Peninsula came from Patrick Reed. His 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole gave him a tie for seventh with Fredrik Jacobson, and kept Jacobson from qualifying for the Match Play Championship by 0.0002 points.

The final spot in the 64-man field based on the world ranking instead goes to Shane Lowery of Ireland, who did not play this week.

Even better for Snedeker was leaving with two trophies. He and his amateur partner, Nashville investor and longtime friend Toby Wilt, tied for first in the pro-am. Wilt endowed a golf scholarship at Vanderbilt, and Snedeker was the first recipient.

Snedeker has come a long way and might just be getting started.

"I would love to be known as the best American golfer," Snedeker said. "I've got a long way to go to do that, but this is a great start to the year. Couldn't have scripted much of a better one, except for maybe winning the last two weeks if the guys (Woods and Mickelson) hadn't played."

Mickelson, the defending champion, hit two more balls in the ocean on the 18th hole, but at least this time he didn't slip on the rocks. He closed with a 72 and tied for 60th.

Snedeker kept to his strategy of attacking the opening seven holes, the key to scoring at Pebble Beach.

He hit a 4-iron that caught the collar of the green and rolled to 4 feet on the par-5 second hole for an eagle, matched birdies with Hahn on the fourth hole, and then hit a 3-wood that skirted the collar of the green on the par-5 sixth and settled 20 feet away for a two-putt birdie.

From there, the FedEx Cup champion had to worry about the rest of the field. Kirk, Walker and even Retief Goosen all tried to make a run, and it looked as though Snedeker might help them out when he gunned his birdie putt past the hole and off the green at the ninth for a bogey.

Snedeker made five bogeys this week, and answered with a birdie four times. He rammed home a 25-foot birdie on the 10th, and then followed that with a 15-foot birdie on the 11th to expand his lead to four shots.

From there, it was a battle for second place - and for the final spot in the Match Play Championship. Mickelson already has said he won't be playing in two weeks, so the top 65 are eligible.

Updated February 10, 2013

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Good…

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Goodell has to be more accountable 9-19-14

Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.

Christian Fauria's Three Keys to Pats-Raiders 9-18-14

Christian breaks down what the Patriots need to do to beat the Raiders this Sunday

Week 3: Around the AFC East 9-18-14

MFB talks to Sal Cappaccio of WGR in Buffalo, Ryan Ruocco of ESPN NY, and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Bo…

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, "I think Rondo is going to go, I just don't see where and how yet" 7-17-14

Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston: I believe Rondo will be traded 7-10-14

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.

OK State Men's Basketball coach, Travis Ford, joins MFB to talk about Marcus Smart, 6-30-14

Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.

David Ortiz Player of the…

David Ortiz Player of the Game Interview

Joe and Dave talk with David Ortiz after he hits two home runs to propel the Red Sox to an extra-innings win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo 9-18-14

Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.

Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

As the season winds down, We check in Sox skipper John Farrell as we await the Boston debut of Rusney Castillo.

The Bradfo Show: Talking …

The Bradfo Show: Talking Bruins roster moves with DJ Bean, Turtleboy

Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.

DJ Bean breaks down the first hours of NHL Free Agency 7-1-14

DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla

DJ Bean, WEEI.com. The Bruins are not traded Marchand 6-13-14

DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau

Rodney Harrison on Adrian…

Rodney Harrison on Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice 9-19-14

Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: The first lady hates fattening foods 9-19-14

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

D&C respond to MFB's MFK 9-19-14

The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.

Jerod Mayo previews Pats-…

Jerod Mayo previews Pats-Raiders 9-19-14

Jerod Mayo gives Christian karaoke advice and previews the Patriots home opener.

Three For All: Christian chooses his karaoke song. 9-19-14

Christian chooses his song for Karaoke tonight.

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Goodell has to be more accountable 9-19-14

Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.

Michael Irvin with Dale a…

Michael Irvin with Dale and Holley: I'm sweating FOR Roger Goodell

We check in with the great 88, the playmaker Michael Irvin joins Dale and Holley.

Roger Goodell finally breaks his silence... did it do him or the NFL any good? Response and Reaction

Michael, Dale and Tom E. Curran break down, react and take your calls about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's first public press conference this regular season.

Dale and Holley's Final Drive - Reliving the greatest Patriots-Raiders game of all time

For our final segment we take a look back at the infamous Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule play, this time via Raiders radio and more.

Jim Koch joins Planet Mik…

Jim Koch joins Planet Mikey

Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.

Danny Picard talks Red Sox and Patriots with Mike Giardi

Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.

Jon Lester's Contract Situation and the Future

Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.

Producers Podcast: Sausag…

Producers Podcast: Sausage and Beans 9-18-14

Your beloved hosts are joined by WEEI.com Bruins reporter DJ Bean as well as producer of the Dennis & Callahan Show, Craig "Sausage" Sawisch. Support America: Support Your Local Post Office

Dennis & Callahan's Breaking Balls Podcast: The NFL's hot mess, Jenny Dell and who has bad breath.

Dennis, Callahan and Minihane make their podcast debut. This week's topics include Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jenny Dell and some discussion on people we've encountered with the worst breath.

Minor Details Ep. 100: A minor centennial with Rob Bradford, Mike Hazen and Jim Callis

The 100th Minor Details podcast revisits some old friends, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis, who were the guests on the first show in November 2010, join the show anew.

Rodney Harrison on Adrian…

Rodney Harrison on Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice 9-19-14

Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.

More from this show

D&C respond to MFB's MFK …

D&C respond to MFB's MFK 9-19-14

The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Have the Bruins done enou…

Have the Bruins done enough to compete for the Cup in 2014-2015

Dale, Michael (and DJ Bean) discuss the Bruins off-season and whether or not they've done enough to get back into position to win the Stanley Cup.

More from this show

Three For All: MFK: Denni…

Three For All: MFK: Dennis, Callahan, or Minihane? 9-18-14

Party with one, Marry one, and Kill the other. How would you decide?

More from this show

Weei Writers