Brandt Snedeker triumphs at Pebble Beach | Golf
Brandt Snedeker won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, his fifth career victory on the PGA Tour.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Brandt Snedeker has obvious star quality, if you're casting the lead in a community-theater production of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
With his flyaway blond hair, freckles and dimpled smile, Snedeker does not look as if he could scare a deer grazing in the fairway. He has emerged as the most intimidating player down a tournament's stretch without baring his teeth, unless it is to smile; without hitting the ball a country mile; and while being careful with his language. Especially now, because as Snedeker noted over the weekend, "I know they are pretty close with those microphones."
Ranked eighth in the world at the start of the year, Snedeker is getting closer to his goal of reaching No. 1. With his two-stroke victory Sunday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he climbed two places, to fourth. He is the second-ranked American, behind No. 2 Tiger Woods. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is No. 1.
Snedeker's closing 7-under-par 65 at Pebble Beach Golf Links was his 16th sub-70 score in 19 rounds in 2013. In 10 official PGA Tour events since his last missed cut, at the PGA Championship in August, Snedeker has scored in the 60s in 29 of 39 rounds, with a mere two rounds above par. He has six top-three finishes, including two victories, in that span. In five starts this year, Snedeker, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, is 82 under par.
"It seems like over the last three months, I've been waking up in a dream world, and it's been pretty unbelievable," said Snedeker, who finished at 19-under 267. "To win the golf tournaments I've won and be in contention as much as I have, you know, probably with not very much fanfare and people thinking I don't hit the ball very long, I'm not the best ball striker; somehow the sum of all my parts end up being pretty good at the end of the day."
Snedeker, 32, earned $1.17 million for the fifth PGA Tour victory of his career.
James Hahn, the 31-year-old rookie who was tied with Snedeker after 54 holes, made a birdie at the par-5 second hole to hold the lead for 38 seconds, until Snedeker made his 4-foot eagle putt.
Hahn posted a 70 and finished tied for third place with Kevin Stadler (65) and Jimmy Walker (66) at 14 under, three strokes behind runner-up Chris Kirk (66).
"Just being around him and seeing how he conducts himself, he's an inspiration," Hahn said of Snedeker. "I learned that he is a better guy than he is a golfer.
"The dude is world class."
On the eve of the final round, Snedeker said a fast start on the first six holes would be the key to his success, and he played them in 4 under, one stroke better than Kirk.
"To go out there and start the way I did was huge," said Snedeker, who finished the tournament eighth in putting, tied for 20th in driving distance at 285.6 yards and tied for sixth in hitting greens in regulation.
Ex-Washington Huskies player Richard H. Lee (71) tied for 12th place at 10 under. Another former Husky, Troy Kelly (73), tied for 62nd at even par.
• Rocco Mediate birdied the 18th hole and finished with a 1-under-par 71 to win the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.
Mediate finished the tournament at 17-under 199 for 54 holes and became the 16th player to have a winning debut on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
Mediate's 4-foot birdie putt came after Tom Pernice Jr. (70) missed a 5-footer at No. 18 that could have turned up the pressure.
"I'm ecstatic," Mediate said. "I have been saying all week it's never easy. It shouldn't be easy. I was prepared to make that putt (at No. 18), but I didn't have to."
Mediate earned $270,000. Pernice and Bernhard Langer (68) tied for second place at 201.
Kirk Triplett (70), a graduate of Pullman High School, tied for 13th place at 7 under.
• Richard Sterne of South Africa cruised to his first European Tour title in more than four years, winning the Joburg Open in his home country by seven shots.
The 31-year-old Sterne shot a bogey-free 64 to finish with a tournament-record total of 27 under.
Countryman Charl Schwartzel (66) was second.
• Top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko, 15, won the New Zealand Women's Open for her third victory in a pro tournament.