Brandt Snedeker began the week with a 20-foot birdie putt for an opening-round 59 at the Wyndham Championship.
He ended it with a 19-foot birdie make Sunday on 18 to close out a wire-to-wire win that meant plenty to the visibly emotional veteran.
“I guess I’m turning into Bubba Watson and wanting to cry every two seconds out here,” Snedeker said.
After an injury-shortened 2017 and inconsistent 2018 to date, Snedeker was back on top with his ninth career win and first since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open thanks to a 21-under 259 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
It happened about 15 miles from Forest Oaks Country Club, where Snedeker picked up his first Tour win at the 2007 Wyndham Championship.
“To do it here, to shoot 59 on Thursday and be in the lead all week, deal with that pressure every night, to step up and deal with that pressure when I needed to means the world to me,” Snedeker said.
While Snedeker stood up to the pressure late, 26-year-old C.T. Pan faltered on the final hole as he tried to close out his first Tour victory. Pan held a share of the lead on the 18th tee box when he blasted a driver out of bounds to the right. That ultimately led to his first double bogey of the week, and he ended up tied for second with Webb Simpson at 18 under.
“Just had a couple noises in my head which caused me to hit a bad shot,” Pan said. “Overall I feel good about the whole round. I played great. Just one bad shot, but that’s OK. … I need to go back home and clear my head and think about it. Last shot, I had some noise in my head and could have backed off it and done something about it, which I decided not to do. That cost me quite a bit, but it’s OK. I’m still young, I’m still learning.”
Snedeker’s 59 was just the 10th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history and first since Adam Hadwin did so at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge. He’s the first player to shoot 59 after an opening bogey, and he played his final 15 holes 12 under with 10 birdies and an eagle.
“I was very aware of what was going on,” Snedeker said. “When I knocked that (final) putt in, it was really special to know that I’m part of a small club on Tour.”
Snedeker is also part of the small club of past FedEx Cup champions. He won the 2012 Tour Championship at East Lake to take home the $10 million prize but hasn’t cracked top 10 on the points list since.
He moved up 50 spots to No. 30 on the points list Sunday and has a good chance to make it back to East Lake next month. Finally, the work he’s put in to slide out of a two-year funk is paying off at the perfect time.
“I’ve done this before, I’ve won that thing,” Snedeker said. “I can’t wait to try to make a run at Atlanta and try to win the FedEx Cup Playoffs because I’m playing great. … I’m kind of one of those players who gets on hot streaks and rides them while they can, so hopefully I can keep doing that.” Gwk