Prior to playing in the Wyndham Championship, rookie Brandt Snedeker made it no secret that he was looking to take advantage of the fact that most of the PGA Tour's top players were skipping the event to rest for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Snedeker's hope was that with a good performance, he could make a major move in the FedEx Cup standings and possibly give himself a chance at winning the Tour's four-tournament "playoffs." The 26-year-old Tennessee native did just that Sunday, firing 9-under-par 63 in the final round to post a two-shot victory at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
The win was worth $900,000 for Snedeker, but also boosted him 17 spots to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup standings in the final regular-season event.
"To have a legitimate chance to win the FedEx Cup, you got to be inside the top 15," Snedeker said in his post-round press conference. "I think the guys who were 25th or 35th or 40th that didn't play this week could have really jumped up and made it a whole lot easier."
Snedeker's 9-under performance marked the low finish by a tournament winner on the PGA Tour this season, bettering Woody Austin's 8-under-par 62 in the Stanford St. Jude Championship. Snedeker, who trailed third-round leader Jeff Overton by five strokes, also became the first player to come from behind in the final round to win the event since Trevor Dodds in 1998.
Standing at 18-under with six holes to play, Snedeker birdied four of his next five holes and made par at No. 18 to finish the tournament at 22-under 266. Tim Petrovic, Billy Mayfair and Overton tied for second at 20-under 268.
The key stretch of the tournament came on the par-3 17th when Snedeker hit a 3-iron onto the green and then sank a 32-foot birdie putt to take the lead for good. Snedeker and Petrovic were tied at 21 under with two holes remaining.
"Brandt played great," Petrovic told reporters. "Guy shoots 63, you've got to take your hat off to him. He won it. I didn't lose it."
Snedeker, who made 63 of 68 putts inside 10 feet in the tournament, described his first PGA Tour victory as "pretty overwhelming."
"I can't believe I shot 63, to be honest with you," said Snedeker, whose previous best finish was a third-place finish in the Buick Invitational back in January. "I didn't feel like I was hitting it all that great on the range this morning, but the putter was working great and I gave myself a lot of chances and they went in."
In addition to the first-place check and nice bump in FedEx Cup points, the victory earned him spots in next year's Masters and Mercedes-Benz Championship. He also increased his 2007 earnings to more than $2.5 million.
"It's pretty unbelievable," Snedeker said. "I was trying to keep my card on Tour. This never really crossed my mind this much.
The spot in Mercedes is going to be an experience. To play Augusta as a pro, is going to be a dream come true -- lots of dreams (are) coming to realization today and (it's) pretty special."
August 20, 2007
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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