Kevin Tway earned his first PGA Tour win Sunday at the Safeway Open.
Brandt Snedeker saw his 10th victory slip away in excruciating fashion throughout a stunning back-nine meltdown.
Snedeker held a five-shot lead with 11 holes to play but made four bogeys over his final nine holes to fall into a three-way playoff with Tway and Ryan Moore at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course in Napa, Calif.
Tway birdied his final two holes to get to 14-under 274 on the week and birdied all three playoff holes, capping the comeback with a 10.5 footer at the par-4 10th hole to ice the win. Tway’s father, Bob Tway, is an eight-time Tour winner and also secured his first victory in a playoff 32 years ago at Torrey Pines.
“I think he’s probably crying, to be honest,” Kevin Tway said. “He’s pretty proud of me. It’s been a long ride but this is why you work hard right here.”
Snedeker was eliminated on the first playoff hole when he made par at 18. He was cruising early and appeared firmly in control while shooting 1-under 35 on the front nine, but an ominous stretch of three consecutive bogeys on 10, 11 and 12 set the stage for his late collapse.
He still could have won with a pair of pars to finish. He made bogey on 17 and couldn’t birdie the par-5 18th to fall into a playoff, ultimately suffering a shocking defeat.
Snedeker was trying to win for the second time in as many months after earning his ninth career victory at the Wyndham Championship in August.
“I’m gonna look back on that one in a few years as, man, I really gave that one away,” Snedeker said. “It sucks right now. Playing next week so I’ll dwell on it, take the positives … I played 63 holes of really damn good golf and nine holes I’d like to have back.”
Moore began the day seven shots off the lead and birdied three of his last four holes in regulation to secure a 5-under 67 and get back in contention. He birdied each of the first two playoff holes and lost out with a par at the last.
Coming into the week Tway had just six top-10 finishes over 90 career starts, but he looked every bit the savvy, experienced veteran as Snedeker fumbled to salvage things down stretch.
Tway is heading straight to Malaysia for the CIMB Classic and said talking to caddie Marc Sambol about the overnight flight helped keep him from feeling too much pressure throughout the round.
Snedeker was also set to make the long overnight journey, where he’ll have to ponder any number of missed shots and mistakes that could have made the difference.
Tway will have the chance to savor the victory, think about his now-impending Masters debut next April and the fact that his dad was right all along.
“He always told me I had the talent and I don’t think I believed him until now,” Tway said. “It feels great.” Gwk