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

It Is What It Is Cast: Bi…

It Is What It Is Cast: Bill Barcells and Patriots Hall of Fame

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Bill Parcells' Patriots Hall of Fame candidacy.

It Is What It Is Cast: Logan Mankins, the offensive line, and Brandon Spikes' guarantee

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Christopher Price discuss Logan Mankins' breakdown of the offensive line and how it will look without Dante Scarnecchia. They also discussed Mankins' rebuttal to Brandon Spikes.

CSNNE's Tom E. Curran Reports From NFL Owners Meetings

Tom Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.

Celtics President Danny A…

Celtics President Danny Ainge with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We wrap up the Celtics season by speaking with Celtics president Danny Ainge about this past season and the team's future.

Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Owner: Reflects on the Boston Marathon tragedy 4-15-4

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, on the Celtics, 4-10-14

Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.

Joe and Dave postgame wit…

Joe and Dave postgame with David Ross 04-17-14

Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox catcher, David Ross, who had the go-ahead RBI tonight as the Red Sox beat the White Sox behind a brilliant pitching performance from Jon Lester.

Dave O'Brien with Dale and Holley - 4-17-14

Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien checks in live from Chicago for our weekly chat about the state of the Sox.

Red Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

We discuss the Red Sox early season woes with manager John Farrell, as well as his views and faith in MLB's new instant replay system, and the continuity in the Sox outfield.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sport…

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Previews Bruins-Red Wings 4-18-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about the creativity of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as well as the potential for physical play in the series.

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Scott Stella on his buddy…

Scott Stella on his buddy Mark Fucarile 4-18-14

Scott talked about the fantastic E 60 documentary Dream On and how his friend is doing.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Chelsea is pregnant 4-18-14

The top of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy.

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sport…

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Previews Bruins-Red Wings 4-18-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about the creativity of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as well as the potential for physical play in the series.

Bruins heavy favorites going into first round Series against the Red Wings

Mut and TC discuss how almost every national hockey writer is picking the Bruins to beat Detroit. Will the Bruins be too confident?

Mut and Merloni Previewing Playoff Hockey 4-18-14

Mut and TC preview the Bruins first round match up against Detroit Red Wings

Dale and Holley with DJ B…

Dale and Holley with DJ Bean : Complete Bruins-Wings game 1 preview and analysis

We get you ready for Bruins game one of round one vs the Detroit Red Wings, with DJ Bean from WEEI.com

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Title Town Edition - 4-18-14

We tackle four topics all revolving around the most recent runs to championships in Boston, and misnomers like Title Town for Green Bay or Hockey Town for Detroit.

Jack Edwards previews Red Wings and Bruins Round 1 with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Rick Middleton joins Plan…

Rick Middleton joins Planet Mikey

Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.

Red Sox lose to the Orioles 2-1 on Opening Day

Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.

Chris Price joins John Ryder to talk the Patriots' newest acquisition

WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and…

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and Greg Wyshynski on Bruins-Red Wings

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

Minor Details Ep. 79: The meaning of winning in the minors with Carlos Febles, Evan Lepler

The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.

WEEI WrestleCast: Wrestlemania 30 recap

Scott and Ben recap WrestleMania 30 and talk about the death of the Ultimate Warrior.

Sam Kennedy on the state …

Sam Kennedy on the state of the Red Sox 4-17-14

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy joined the show to discuss the state of the Sox and MLB.

More from this show

Jeff Bauman on his recove…

Jeff Bauman on his recovery 4-17-14

Jeff Bauman joined the show to discuss his recovery over the past year.

More from this show

Ty Law, Patriots legend: …

Ty Law, Patriots legend: On being a finalist for Hall of Fame, 4-17-14

Ty Law joins Mut and Christian Fauria to discuss being a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the way the game is officiated now, and Darrelle Revis.

More from this show

Sox win in extra innings …

Sox win in extra innings 4-17-14

The guys opened the show by discussing the Sox 14th inning win over the White Sox.

More from this show

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox c…

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox clubhouse unhappy with Lester offer, 4-16-14

Buster Olney joined Mut and Merloni to discuss the Lester contract offer and the trickle-down effect in the clubhouse, the defense of Xander Bogaerts, and the slow start

More from this show

Weei Writers