Snedeker opens and closes with a bang at Wyndham Championship
August 20, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Shots of the Week
Brandt Snedeker's putt for a historical "59" leads Shots of the Week
It’s one thing to join the sub-60 club – but it is another to parlay it over the next three days into a tournament win.
Welcome to the Monday Finish where Brandt Snedeker scorched the Greensboro turf on Thursday with a sublime 59 and then methodically plotted his way to victory.
1 Brandt Snedeker opened the tournament with a serious bang … posting just the 10th sub-60 score in PGA TOUR history. The feat on its own is seriously awesome. Particularly as he opened the round with a bogey. But what is more impressive is backing it up and turning it into a victory. We often hear people say in golf that it is really hard to back up a really low round with another. And of course his second-round 67 was a good eight shots behind Round 1. But it was good enough to stay ahead. A third-round 68, half of which was played on Sunday, was once again good enough to lead but the challengers were coming … they were breathing down his neck. So in the final round when he was caught on the leaderboard it could obviously have gone one of two ways … run out of gas or get a second wind. Snedeker showed himself as every bit a former FedExCup champion to kick on with a 65 and a three-shot win. Only Al Geiberger (1977 FedEx St. Jude Classic), David Duval (1999 CareerBuilder Challenge), Stuart Appleby (2010 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier) and Justin Thomas (2017 Sony Open in Hawaii) were previously able to post sub-60 scores on the PGA TOUR and go on to win that week. Signs of a real champion.
2 More on the man known as Sneds – it had been at best a half decent “comeback” before this week from a pesky sternum injury that ended his 2016-17 season early. But really not that great by the standards of a then eight-time PGA TOUR winner and former FedExCup champion. After an MDF finish at the Houston Open in April Snedeker was outside the top 125 on the FedExCup standings and he dipped in and out again by the end of May. This no doubt was a huge source of frustration for someone who had often felt the heights of the sport. But perseverance is a trait Snedeker can be proud of. A couple of top 10s in the last six weeks had him primed to return to the scene of his maiden TOUR win in 2007. And he made it count. Moving from 80th to 30th in the standings makes becoming a dual FedExCup champion like Tiger Woods a serious possibility.
3 Speaking of comebacks of sorts … what about Webb Simpson? Last season was the beginning of his resurrection. This season the former U.S. Open champion has taken it up a few more notches. THE PLAYERS champion closed out the regular season with a runner-up finish and seventh top-10. He enters the Playoffs in seventh position. The most obvious difference in a visual sense is his confidence. It is clearly back. Simpson knows he’s good again. And with that confidence more could be coming from this special talent.
4 It certainly can be fun watching the FedExCup finale through the prism of the points and who is going to play their way in. And while Sergio Garcia was unable to push home hard enough to keep his Playoffs streak alive there were two guys who stepped up under the gun and got it done. Harris English produced a decent T11 finish to move from 132nd to 124th – clutch. But perhaps more so – Nick Taylor putting up his lowest round of the season Sunday to go from 129 to 119. We are lucky enough to have live projections at our fingertips and it is the embodiment of the saying every shot matters. Just six points separated 125th and 126th. At least those guys 126-150 have conditional status next year (and a place in the Web.com Finals to better their status). Spare a thought for Matt Jones. He missed the cut and watched his number slide from 146 to 151. Just two points, or basically one shot this season, separated him from some status. Now he must fight to regain it. Every. Shot. Matters.
5 C.T. Pan will learn plenty from his 72nd hole performance where he went from the lead to finishing three shots back. No one wants to face that sort of implosion – Pan hit his tee shot well right and out of bounds – but at the very least it will be a serious teaching moment. Afterward, he admitted a voice in his head got the better of him. Just admitting that is a sign he will do better next time. He will recognize it and perhaps be able to harness the nerves and use them to his advantage. The good news – at 63rd in the FedExCup he will have a chance to go deep in the Playoffs and perhaps go one better.
1 Snedeker was just the third player to shoot a 59 with a bogey on his card, and the first player to break 60 while being over par at any point during the round (+1 through 3). His Strokes Gained stats were as follows: Total: +9.71 (1st); Off-the-Tee: +0.11 (84th); Approach-the-Green: +5.55 (1st); Around-the-Green: +1.58 (4th); Putting: +2.47 (11th).
2 Snedeker hit 15 of 18 greens on Thursday’s round of 59. He had eight birdie putts within 6 feet, and seven of those came on his back nine (the front nine). Of his 5.55 strokes gained on approach play, 5.4 of them were gained on his back nine. He shot 8-under 27 on that side despite holing just one putt from outside 5 feet: a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth hole (since his ball was on the fringe, the stroke doesn’t count as a putt under PGA TOUR statistics).
3 It was Snedeker’s ninth PGA TOUR win. At 37 years old, he owns the 25th win by a player in his 30s this season. He led after every round becoming the second wire-to-wire winner this season (Brice Garnett at Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship). He has now won the same tournament for a second time on three occasions; Wyndham Championship (2007, 2018), Farmers Insurance Open (2012, 2016) and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (2013, 2015). Marks his fourth top-10 finish of the season. With the exception of 2014, has collected at least four top-10 finishes a season since joining the PGA TOUR in 2007. Claimed three in 2014.
4 Brandt Snedeker ranked 111th in SG: Approach-the-Green entering the Wyndham Championship and T-121st in Fairway Proximity averaging 31 feet, 9 inches to the hole on approach shots. At the Wyndham Championship, Snedeker was nearly two shots better per round in SG: Approach-the-Green (+1.987 ranked third) and averaged over 10 feet closer on approach shots from the fairway (20 feet, six inches ranked third).
5 By virtue of earning as many or more Non-Member points as No. 125 in the FedExCup standings after the Wyndham Championship, Joaquin Niemann and Kiradech Aphibarnrat earned fully-exempt status to the PGA TOUR for the 2018-19 season.