Brandt Snedeker finally got his hands on some silverware by winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, having been a runner-up to Tiger Woods then Phil Mickelson in tournaments the previous two weeks.
Snedeker finished off a command performance Sunday with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot victory over Chris Kirk, tapping in for par on the 18th hole to finish at 19-under 267, setting the tournament record at Pebble Beach.
In five starts this year, Snedeker already has a win, two second-place finishes and a third.
The win takes him to a career-best No. 4 in the world. Kirk closed with a 64, though he never got closer than two shots. James Hahn, tied with Snedeker to start the final round, had a 70 and tied for third.
Snedeker's score broke the tournament record by one shot held by Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997), who each had a 20-under 268 in the three-course event when Poppy Hills was still in the rotation. ''Feels great to finish one,'' he said.
''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.''
Snedeker 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. He took a long gaze out at the Pacific while waiting on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach, perhaps reflecting on an amazing ride over the last six months - winning the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and its US$10 million prize, his first Ryder Cup team, and a blazing start to the new season.
Snedeker goes to No. 4 in the world, the highest ranking of his career and second only to Woods among Americans. ''Kind of crazy to think what's happened,'' he said.
He now heads off on vacation before returning for some tournaments leading to the Masters.
Winning a major is the next step for Snedeker, a 32-year-old 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. 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.
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.
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