By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Brandt Snedeker has found a way to channel his inner Tiger Woods.
Since the start of the 2012 FedExCup Playoffs he has had two victories, at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and seven out of 11 finishes in the top 10. His form has been torrid and over this period of play he is a collective 134 under and has only shot over par three times.
Arguably the hottest player in the game, Snedeker was in complete command at Pebble Beach. He triumphantly made his way into the winner’s enclosure by posting four rounds in the 60s and winning by two strokes.
There is a lot to like about the affable 32-year-old Tennessean. There is also a lot to learn from his game and the way he approaches his craft:
Be decisive: Once he is over the ball, Snedeker wastes no time in pulling the trigger. Indeed, I would list him as one of the most decisive and fastest players in the game. Do not be confused, though, Snedeker does not hit shots with careless abandon at all. He and his caddie, Scott Vail, carefully consider every factor that could influence the upcoming shot before Snedeker pulls a club and addresses the ball. And once he is over the ball there is no wasting time. In my opinion, this is a great way to play as it reduces the chance for doubt to creep in and potentially ruin the shot. So, just like Sneds, think the shot through thoroughly but when the club is in your hand and you are over the ball, be decisive, don’t hang around and pull the trigger.
Make a balanced pass: Sneds is not one of the longer hitters in the game but that does not slow him down. In fact he is, in my opinion, one of the most explosive players on the TOUR thanks to his prowess with a putter in his hands. I love how he embraces his strengths and does not appear to get wrapped up in the search for power off the tee. Never will you see Snedeker make an unbalanced swing or a swing that is violent and lacking poise. Whether he is hitting a wedge or a driver you will always see Snedeker in a balanced and complete follow-through. I love this approach as I firmly believe that the follow-through is evidence of what has come before it. So just like the current FedExCup points leader, swing with discipline and at a pace that allows you to make a balanced follow-through.
And as always, remember the putter defines the golfer. So invest in your putting and log some practice on the putting green -- it works for Snedeker; I promise it will pay dividends for you.
Lee Westwood led the field in proximity to the hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
|Category||Winner: Brandt Snedeker
|Driving Distance||277.4 (T41)||Sean O'Hair (303.3 yards)||T16|
|Driving Accuracy||78.18% (T14)||Nick O'Hern (87.27%)||68th
|Strokes Gained-Putting||1.929 (9th)||Ted Potter Jr. (3.410)
|Greens in Regulation||77.78% (T6)||Jason Day (86.11%)||6th|
|Proximity to Hole||27' 10" (19th)||Lee Westwood (23' 3")||T46|
|Scrambling||75.00% (T6)||Brian Stuard (89.47%)||T30
WEEKLY PERFORMANCE STATS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open in Hawaii
Week 4: Farmers Insurance Open
Week 5: Waste Management Phoenix Open
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker and Toby Wilt have played literally hundreds of rounds of golf together back home in Nashville, Tenn.
Nothing, however, was quite like the 18 holes they shared on Sunday. Not playing in the final group on the final day of AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with dual titles on the line.
Snedeker was trying to win the fifth PGA TOUR event of his career after runner-up finishes each of the last two weeks. And he and the investor, who endowed the scholarship Snedeker attended Vanderbilt on and has become a close friend, were trying to win the pro-am portion of the tournament once known as the Crosby Clambake.
Turns out, the two succeeded on both counts.
Snedeker said Wilt had a calming influence on him as he fired a 65 on the way to a two-stroke win over Chris Kirk. And Wilt nearly gave the two the outright title when he narrowly missed a long putt on the 72nd hole -- instead, they shared the pro-am title with Michael Letzig and John Erickson at 31 under.
"He knew what to say when I was kind of hurting and not playing my best, and he knew what to say when I was playing great and we had a lot of fun talking about everything but what we were doing, and that's what you need out there," Snedeker said. "You need somebody to keep your mind off what's going on and focus when you need to.
"We've played so many rounds of golf together and I kept thinking of how special it would be if we could win this as a team, because I'm sure he had a great time today playing in the last group of a PGA TOUR event watching me. But I want to make sure that we both walked out of here with a trophy, our goal was to walk out with two trophies today and for us to do that was a very special thing."
Jordan Spieth and Dallas Cowboys quarterfinal Tony Romo; Patrick Cantlay and surfer Kelly Slater; Brad Fritsch and signer Huey Lewis were among six teams tied for third, two strokes back.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker used to be a great putter and an inconsistent ball-striker. That has changed. He is 11th in greens in regulation and 25th in strokes gained-putting this season. Compare those numbers to 2012, when he was 132nd and first, respectively. What accounts for the difference? Snedeker says he was giving away too many shots by shooting at too many pins. He is more concerned now about angles off the tee. Snedeker is still frustrated with his putting this year, claiming he is missing his line on many of the greens, but his course management has improved so much that he is able to win without his usual putting stroke. He hit 13 of 14 fairways in the final round and for the week found 56 of 72 greens while ranking eighth in strokes gained-putting. That combination will win an awful lot of tournaments this year.
Toughest hole: They used the back tee on the ninth hole, stretching the par 4 to 496 yards and golfers struggled. It was the toughest hole on the course, playing to a 4.286 stroke average. There were just five birdies the whole day while golfers stumbled to 20 bogeys. Just hitting the green wasn’t enough. Snedeker played safely to the middle of the green and then three-putted for bogey. The green slopes from left to right and with a front right hole location, golf balls putted from above the hole would race past the cup and off the green. The safe miss was not into the center of the green but short of the putting surface. Golfers who chipped from in front of the green were able to save par. Those who putted from above the hole walked away with three-putt bogeys.
Learning experience: It was a great week of golf for James Hahn but he called his final round “bittersweet.” Hahn lamented a missed eagle putt on the second hole followed by another miss for birdie at the third. Those early misfires hurt his confidence for the remainder of the round and he had trouble both trusting and hitting his line. Hahn says the great lesson he learned from playing in the final group: He has to become a better putter under pressure.
Last look: Scott Tway would not leave the 18th green until Snedeker had hit the green. Tway caddied for Chris Kirk and his man had just birdied the final hole to post 17 under. Snedeker had a two-shot lead and played into the 18th from just 139 yards. Tway stood his post, just making sure any chance of a playoff had been eliminated. Once Snedeker hit a 9-iron to within 30 feet of the cup, Tway conceded his man would finish second and joined Kirk in the scoring trailor.
Conditions: Pebble Beach was in the best condition I have ever seen in February. During the rainy winter months, the golf course is usually soggy. Not this year. The greens retained some firmness, even with rain on Thursday night and Friday morning. There have been years when the ball hits the green with a “squish.” This year, the same shot would hit the green and release. The fairways also had a degree of firmness and the combination was noted with approval by the entire field of players.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
After two runner-up finishes this season, Brandt Snedeker broke through for his first victory of the year. With this victory, the defending FedExCup champ ...
· Earns 5th career PGA TOUR win at the age of 32 years, 2 months and 2 days in his 171st career start.
· Extends exempt TOUR status by one year through the 2018 season.
· TOUR wins: 2007 Wyndham Championship, 2011 RBC Heritage, 2012 Farmers Insurance Open and 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
· Records second win in last six starts on TOUR dating to last start of 2012 at the TOUR Championship.
· 2012 FedExCup champion retains the No. 1 spot in the current FedExCup standings.
· Wins in sixth start at Pebble Beach – missed the cut in two of previous three starts here (2009 and 2011).
· 2013 starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins (not including this week’s start): 4-4-3-0.
· Becomes first player since 1990 to follow up two consecutive runner-up finishes with a win.
· Has been in the top-4 of the standings at the end of 12 of his 19 rounds on TOUR this season.
· In 19 rounds thus far in 2013, has 16 rounds in the 60s and 18 under-par rounds.
· Has had a round in the 60s in 16 of his last 17 rounds on TOUR. A 75 in the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open is his lone miss.
· Is 33/37 for subpar rounds in official TOUR events, dating to the start of the Wyndham Championship in August of last year. The week before the Wyndham Championship, missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
· Converted second straight opportunity when holding the third-round lead/co-lead.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker saved his low round of the week for when he needed it most, closing with a 65 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Snedeker set the tone for the day when he made a 4-footer for eagle at the second hole to pull out of an overnight tie for the lead with James Hahn. Snedeker never looked back, patiently taking avantage of his opportunities and building as much as a four-stroke advantage before edging Chris Kirk by two strokes.
The victory was Snedeker's second in his last six starts dating back to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola -- where he also won the FedExCup. Snedeker, who leads the current points standings, had finished second each of the previous two weeks and was third in the PGA TOUR's season-opener on Maui.
"Feels great to finish one," said Snedeker, who fell to Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines and Phil Mickelson in Phoenix. "The last two weeks, playing great but running into two Hall of Famers really motivated me to go out (and prove) that I can play good and handle the lead.
"I love being in this position and today was a lot of fun."
With the round of 65, Snedeker has now shot in the 60s 16 times in 19 rounds this year. He is a cumulative 82 under for 2013 and has risen to No. 4 in the world.
Kirk, who won the 2011 Viking Classic, closed with a 66 to take sole possession of second at 17 under. The Georgia grad now has two top-5 finishes in four starts this year.
"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. But I'm really happy with my day."
Hahn ended up in a third-place with with Jimmy Walker and Kevin Stadler at 14 under. Hahn is making the most of his rookie campaign on TOUR -- he also tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation where he held a share of the first- and second-round leads.
"This week was the best tournament I've had so far," Hahn said. "But being so close to winning a golf tournament, playing in the final group, it's a little bittersweet.
Stadler shot 65 while Walker, who tied for fourth two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, closed with a 66. Hahn finished with a 70.
Brandt Snedeker finally has a victory to go along with an impressive start to the 2013 PGA TOUR season. Snedeker won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday in Pebble Beach, Calif., holding off a host of challengers on the back nine at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Want to congratulate Snedeker on his victory? Just leave him a note in the comments section below and we'll deliver it to him.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Chris Kirk isn't going to let Brandt Snedeker walk away with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title.
Kirk drained an improbable 38-footer for birdie at the 13th hole, then added an 11-footer for another at the next hole. He's now 16 under and has closed to within two of Snedeker.
Kevin Stadler, who is 7 under playing the final hole, and Jimmy Walker are tied for third at 14 under. Walker is 6 under through 16 holes.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, James Hahn, et al, now know how Brandt Snedeker felt the last two weeks.
Snedeker is taking a page from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- the men who relegated him to second at the last two PGA TOUR events -- and pulling away from the competition early on the back nine at Pebble Beach.
Snedeker just has poured in birdie putts of 27 and 17 feet on Nos. 10 and 11 to open a four-stroke advantage on the field at 18 under. Jimmy Walker, who has birdied six of his last eight holes, and Chris Kirk, who is 3 under through 12, are tied for second.