ERIN, Wis. – Brandt Snedeker has to be wondering what might have been after an up-and-down final round Sunday at the 117th U.S. Open.
The Nashville native, getting over a left-hand injury that kept him out of Tour action for a month, made five birdies at long and breezy Erin Hills. But he also suffered four bogeys, settling for a 1-under-par 71 and a 280 total, eight shots behind champion Brooks Koepka. Koepka tied Rory McIlroy’s national championship scoring record, set in 2011, at 16 under par
Snedeker was disappointed, but a T-9 finish in a major is nothing to feel bad about. Especially when you consider the scorching his buddy Koepka left on the field and course with his closing 67.
“I did a lot of good stuff, it obviously wasn’t good enough,” Snedeker said. “I was frustrated with kind of the way I finished the last couple of days. I had chances, I just wasn’t able to get it done. It’s part of golf. Part of being the U.S. Open. It’s going to test you.”
Snedeker opened with a 70, then posted 69 and 70 in Rounds 2 and 3. He comes away still seeking his first major championship, his best finish T-3 at the 2012 Open Championship. Snedeker has twice been eighth at the U.S. Open (2010, 2015).
The Vanderbilt product was impressed by Erin Hills, a first-time U.S. Open track, monstrous at nearly 8,000-yards and fraught with blind tee shots and fescue. Pre-tournament handwringing aside, the course held up, according to Snedeker.
“I thought the USGA did a great job with the golf course,’ he said. “I know it’s not what everybody expected U.S. Open-wise, but they didn’t try to monkey with the course and get some arbitrary numbers. They let the course stand for itself. I thought the course played really well.
“It was fun to play. I thought it was very challenging. And I think we’d all wish it would have been dry all week and had conditions like this, and it would be a different tournament. All in all, a good week and take a lot of positives out of it.”
The rains stayed away Sunday, but gusts of up to 20 mph came to Southeastern Wisconsin. Their influence on play was negligible, Snedeker said.
“It just didn’t really impact it, just kind of changed the thought processes on a few of the holes,” Snedeker said. “It wasn’t too terrible. A couple of holes early were tough. And as you get in the round, it started playing the way it was supposed to play all week. In that aspect, it didn’t affect it too much.”
Koepka’s presence was immense. Snedeker beamed over his young Ryder Cup teammate and his run to the title of major champion.
“I kept telling people last year after the Ryder Cup, when Brooks figures out how good he is, he’s going to be a world beater,” Snedeker said. “He’s starting to figure it out and we’re seeing it today. Great player, great kid. Somebody who’s got a long career. I think today he’s proven what kind of talent he has, to go out there and play the way he has on a Sunday in a major. He’s playing unbelievable golf. And on top of it, he’s a great guy. He’s easy to root for.”
Snedeker, seeking his first Tour victory since the Farmers Insurance Open in 2016, heads to the Travelers Championship in Hartford, Conn., next week.
“Hopefully we can build off of this week and next week and be up there again,” he said.