Two years ago, Brandt Snedeker came to Pebble Beach and won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for his fifth career PGA Tour title. The win moved him to number four in the world and put him in the conversation of one of the top American golfers in the game.
Swing changes and injuries largely derailed Snedeker over the past two year. In fact, heading into this week’s trip to Pebble Beach, Snedeker had fallen out of the top 50 in the World Rankings, leaving him on the outside looking in for the major championships and the World Golf Championship events including the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral next month.
A good week at Pebble though would go a long way in being able to add those two events back onto the schedule for the 34 year old.
That’s exactly what happened.
Snedeker made just one bogey in 72 holes on his way to a four day total of 22-under 265, breaking his own scoring record that he set in 2013 when he won with a score of 19-under. The win validates everything that Snedeker has been working on with new swing coach Butch Harmon.
“For me to play one bogey in 72 holes, I’ve never thought that that was possible.” Snedeker said.
“He did a great job of kind of helping me understand how I swing the golf club, what I need to do to be successful,” Snedeker continued to say about Harmon. “The great thing about Butch is he’s not technical at all. He instills confidence in you when you don’t even realize he’s doing it. We might have a three-hour practice session and he might say one thing about my swing and 15 things about the mental side of it or what you should be thinking in certain situations or what he learned from Seve or Tiger or anybody else. He’s got all these little nuggets that are great that come in handy on days like today.”
The win now assures him a spot in the Masters, PGA Championship, and the three remaining WGC events (he was already eligible for the U.S. Open). He also moves all the way back up to 31 in the world rankings.
“I’m just so excited about what’s next,” Snedeker said.
It wasn’t a walk in the park for Snedeker in the final round though. Snedeker started the day one hole back and after getting the lead had to hold off Nick Watney, who all his own goal of breaking his winles streak as well.
Watney opened with four straight birdies, but three birdies in a five hole stretch ended up costing him the win.
“It’s a little bittersweet sitting here right now,” Watney said. “But I’m very excited with the way that I’m playing and maybe next week.”
Watney’s runner up finish was his best since he also finished runner up at the 2103 BMW Championship.
It was also a tough day for 54-hole leader Jim Furyk, who after a final round 2-over 74 is now 0-9 with the 54-hole lead.
“I’m still in a little – I don’t know if shock is the right word, but I’m surprised,” Furyk said, before going over the early part of his round in agonizing detail. “I went out there early in the round, hit the ball very crisp, hit the ball well, really couldn’t have played much better for the first four holes, but I really struggled to get the putts to fall. I hit a good putt at one, misread one at three, hit a real good putt at four that didn’t go, and then when I bogeyed five, the round started slipping away. Those holes, 6-10, I hit a lot of good shots.”
A major part of the week wasn’t just the pro tournament going on. There was also a team component with each PGA Tour pro partnering up with an amateur.
PGA Pro Pat Perez and his partner, co-founder of Pandora Jewelry Michael Lund, won the team portion at 42-under par.
“It’s the best week of my life,” said Lund, who has an 8 handicap. “… Obviously when you come here you want to win, but I guess you just can’t believe that it actually happened. So I’m loss of words.”
Perez finished fourth in the pro part of the event, finishing five shots back of Snedeker, but couldn’t seem any more happy about the team win, especially for his playing partner.
“I kind of had a chance to win here but I knew I was going to have to play great to win on the individual,” Perez said. “But I wanted it more for him than anything in the world, because I know what it means to him… It’s almost like I won. I really wanted it for him and we had a great time.”
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