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January 30 2012

12:45 AM

Snedeker takes surprising victory

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker was fielding questions in the interview room of the media center when Kyle Stanley hit his third shot to the 72nd hole at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday afternoon.

He glanced over at the TV and saw the ball spin back into the water. Suddenly Stanley's three-shot lead was looking a bit more tenuous, but even so, Snedeker didn't anticipate what was about to happen.

When Stanley hit his fifth shot to the back shelf of the green, though, Snedeker decided he'd best head back to the scoring area. He knew that 43-foot putt Stanley faced wasn't easy, not when he had to judge the speed on the slope and block out the water in the background.

And he was right. One three-putt later, Snedeker and Stanley were headed back to the 18th tee for a playoff.

Snedeker earned the win when he got up and down for par from the back of the green on the second extra hole. He made his putt of just over 5 feet and then watched as Stanley's went sliding by the hole.

The victory was the third of Snedeker's PGA TOUR career. He's come from well off the pace in all -- making up five strokes at the 2007 Wyndham Championship and six last year at The Heritage when he beat Luke Donald in a playoff.

Snedeker started Sunday's final round at Torrey Pines trailing Stanley by seven strokes after a disappointing 74 in the third round had seemingly given the Tennessean too much ground to make up. Snedeker closed with a 67 which tied Bud Cauley for the day's low round and he was ready when the opportunity came.

"When I had the second chance, I really had to get myself refocused and realize that this tournament is anybody's now, now that I was in the playoff," Snedeker said. "If anybody had an advantage, I did, because I had done that a couple times before. I had won in a playoff on TOUR, and I know Kyle probably wasn't in his best frame of mind at that point after doing what he did on 18.
   
"So I really refocused. I played great in the playoff. Hit one bad tee shot on 18, and made a good putt on 18 for birdie, hit a great 5-iron on 16.  I thought it was going to be right next to it. It ended up going over, but made a great putt there on those greens.
   
"I'm just floored right now. I had no idea I was going to be in this room right now for a second time. So I'm so excited."

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