Brandt Snedeker closes out a final-round 68 to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the FedExCup title on Sunday afternoon at East Lake.
ATLANTA – For three years, Brandt Snedeker has had to live with the disappointment of a four-putt in the FedExCup Playoffs that cost him a chance to play in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
He now has much better memories of the Playoffs. He’s the new FedExCup champion.
Snedeker got hot down the stretch to pull away from the field and win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, shooting a 2-under 68 to finish at 10 under, three strokes ahead of Justin Rose. Since Snedeker was also in the top five in points coming into East Lake, the win also guaranteed him the FedExCup, now in its sixth year of existence.
Snedeker also claims the $10 million bonus - the richest prize in golf -- that comes with the FedExCup title, as well as the $1.4 million check that goes to the winner of the TOUR Championship.
“At the end of the day, I had complete confidence of what I was doing out here,” Snedeker said.
Rory McIlroy finished second in the final FedExCup standings, with Tiger Woods third, Nick Watney fourth and Phil Mickelson fifth. Rose climbed to sixth thanks to his second-place finish at East Lake.
In 2009, Snedeker four-putted the final green for a triple bogey at the BMW Championship, closing out a 76 that left him 33rd in the FedExCup standings and eliminated from the top 30 who qualify for the TOUR Championship.
Snedeker is the first player ranked within the top five in FedExCup points entering the TOUR Championship to win at East Lake since the points system was reworked for the 2009 season. The top five control their own destiny at the TOUR Championship; Snedeker was No. 5 points, thanks mostly to a second-place finish at The Barclays and a tie for sixth at the BMW Championship..
Snedeker began the FedExCup Playoffs ranked No. 19 after a solid 2012 regular season, which included a playoff victory over Kyle Stanley at the Farmers Insurance Open. There, Snedeker made up a seven-shot deficit.
Sunday's win is Snedeker's fourth of his PGA TOUR career -- and his first when entering the final round with at least a share of the lead. His three previous wins have been fashioned with final-round comebacks.
“I don’t know where it came from,” Snedeker said. “I’ll try to rekindle it more often in the future.”
Other than a double bogey at the par-3 sixth when he found the water with his tee shot, Snedeker was nearly as flawless on Sunday as he was the day before in shooting a 64 that gave him a share of the 54-hole lead with Justin Rose.
He had two birdies on the front side to balance out the double, then he took command of the tournament in the last six holes, making birdies at the 13th, 15th and 17th holes -- the latter when he chipped in from the fringe.
That gave him a four-shot lead over Rose going into the final hole. Snedeker's tee shot sailed into the grandstands behind the 18th green and landed in a chair, to which he received free relief. He finished with a meaningless bogey.
McIlroy -- winner of the previous two Playoffs events -- entered the final round three shots off the lead and Woods started four shots off the pace. Those two came into the week as the top two in FedExCup points and still had legitimate opportunities to win the FedExCup by playing well on Sunday.
A four-hole stretch on McIlroy's front nine sent him spiraling away from the leaders. A poor tee shot at the fourth set up a bogey, He then found the water with his tee shot at the par-3 sixth and ended with double bogey. He followed with another bogey at the seventh. He finished with a 4-over 74 to tie for 10th, hitting just three fairways
“Not very good from the tee,” McIlroy said when asked to assess his day. “You need to hit fairways out here and I didn’t. That’s the story of the day.”
McIlroy said he would leave the Playoffs with positive feelings instead of dwelling on not being able to secure the FedExCup. “It’s the nature of the Playoffs,” McIlroy said. “You’ve got to earn that trophy.”
Woods also put himself in a big hole early, with bogeys at the first and fifth holes and then a double bogey at the sixth. He steadied himself after that, but the damage had been done, as he finished with a 2-over 72 that left him in eighth place.