Playing in the inclement, nearly unplayable conditions at Torrey Pines, Brandt Snedeker had one of the best rounds of the year — even though we’re barely into 2016. Snedeker, who had the good fortune of finishing the fourth round at the weather-delayed Farmers Insurance Open, posted a brilliant three-under 69 Sunday, making him the only player to break par.
He started the final 18 holes six shots off the pace, but rallied with his fine play and then played the long waiting game for the 49 players, including the other contenders Jimmy Walker and K.J. Choi, to finish their rounds on Monday. To give you an idea of how difficult it was, the scoring average for the final round was 77.9. Oh, yeah, by the way, the conditions were just as tough as they were on Sunday, and the strong gusts were blowing from a different direction.
Walker had a one-shot lead of Snedeker and Choi when play resumed late Monday morning. Meanwhile, the clubhouse leader watched nervously as Walker and Choi played their final holes among a course that was hit with noticeable damage. And nearly 24 hours later, Snedeker turned out to be the last man standing (and the only dry one that was spared another day of getting beat up) as the rest of the field was blown off Torrey’s South Course.
“The way the wind blew and made those last five holes play so tough on those guys, I feel bad for them,” Snedeker said via the AP. “They got the raw end of the stick this morning. But that’s just the way golf goes, and luckily enough, I played good enough yesterday to get the job done. So it’s a special feeling to say the least.”
Turned out Snedeker got the better end of the draw when it came to the weather at Torrey, but that’s just the way it goes. Sometimes you need those random breaks to come out on top; for it to be “your” week.
“It’s just one of those fluke things,” Snedeker said. “There’s no way you can control the weather, no way you can predict how it’s going to be. Sometimes you get the raw end, and sometimes you get the better end, and I obviously got the better end this week.”
Snedeker’s winning score of six-under 282 was the highest at Torrey Pines since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. It’s the second time the 35-year-old American has won at this venue and it’s eighth career victory on the PGA Tour.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a champion here again, how unbelievable the last 48 hours have been,” said Snedeker. “Everything worked out perfectly for me. You cannot make up the extreme events that had to happen for me to have this chance, and they all fell in line perfectly.”
Snedeker was the first player in more than five years to make the cut on the number and win the tournament. He did what he needed to do in the brutal conditions on Sunday, playing the last 17 holes bogey-free in extreme wind — with gusts up to 40mph — and sporadic rain, which forced play to be suspended three times before the golf course was finally evacuated.
This is the second time Snedeker has won at Torrey in unlikely fashion. In 2012 he trailed Kyle Stanley by seven shots and figured he had secured a runner-up finish, but that’s when the seemingly impossible happened. Stanley triple-bogeyed the par-5 18th and Snedeker won in a playoff.
Of his eight Tour wins, five of them have been in come-from-behind fashion.
“It says I don’t give up,” said Snedeker via the LA Times. “I keep grinding until the last putt goes in, and I take pride in that.
“A lot of guys get down on themselves and say, ‘Well, I’m not going to win this week,’ and you just never know what is going to happen. … I was in 27th position, [six] back going into the round, and now I’m sitting here as champion. I would have said you’re crazy, there’s no way, but you just never know.”
Indeed. You don’t.