An emotional Brandt Snedeker ended a 17-month title drought when he carded a closing five-under-par 67 to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by three strokes on Sunday.
Snedeker recorded just one bogey in 72 holes to finish at 22-under 265 and win for the second time in three years the storied event played on three courses on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
It was his seventh victory on the PGA Tour and it earned the 34-year-old from Tennessee $1.224 million along with a spot in April’s U.S. Masters, an event he was not previously exempt for.
Fellow American Nick Watney (69) claimed second place on 19-under, while overnight leader Jim Furyk (74) missed some early birdie chances before fading to equal seventh in another final round disappointment.
Furyk has failed to convert a 54-hole lead into victory nine consecutive times since his 16th tour victory in 2010.
Snedeker shed tears after battling back from a winless 2014 season and paid tribute to the role his wife Mandy had played in the lean times.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this feeling. It’s really special,” he said in a greenside interview.
“Probably the only time I’ve cried walking off 18th green was this week, because everything I’ve done the past year-and-a-half I’ve put my wife through.
“When you’re not playing good, the home life is not always great because you take it out somewhere and she’s been a huge supporter of everything I’ve been doing.”
The victory validated Snedeker for work he has done recently with new coach Butch Harmon and he was particularly thrilled to qualify for the Masters, where he tied for third in 2008.
“There was so much on the line today, so much stuff going on in my mind I had to quiet down.
“I got emotional on 18 green because I realized how important this win is for me. It gets me back on track to where I feel I belong. I want to be relevant again and I think I’m relevant again. I don’t like playing golf not feeling like I can compete and win.”
Snedeker’s joy contrasted with Furyk’s disappointment.
“I really couldn’t have played much better the first four holes but I really struggled to get the putts to fall (and) then when I bogeyed five the round started slipping away,” he said.
“I stood on 11th tee shaking my head thinking ‘how did I get to three-over?’.”
At least Furyk escaped the course physically unscathed, unlike Matt Bettencourt’s caddie Brian Rush, who fell on rocks looking for a ball at the 18th hole and suffered a broken shoulder, a compound break in his forearm and concussion.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)