PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — With one last birdie, Brandt Snedeker finally had a chance to catch his breath at one of the best places in golf.
He was on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach with a three-shot lead Sunday as he gazed into the sun at an endless ocean and tried to grasp just how far he has come in the past few months.
There was that big win at the Tour Championship to claim the $10 million prize as the FedEx Cup champion.
He played in his first Ryder Cup.
In his past nine tournaments, he has six finishes in the top three, including back-to-back weeks as the runner-up to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Snedeker wasn’t about to let anyone get in his way at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
“Just hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I had the last couple of months,” Snedeker said after his two-shot win. “Something you dream about. Something you think that you can do, but you don’t really know until you actually put it together. And I have.
“I’m really enjoying this, and hopefully can parlay this into the best year of my career.”
He was the best all week at Pebble Beach, finishing at 19-under 267 to break by one shot the tournament record. Mickelson (2007) and Mark O’Meara (1997) each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills was still in the rotation.
Snedeker built his lead in the final round by playing the opening seven holes in 5 under, fired at the flag on the par-3 17th to set up his last birdie and closed with a 7-under 65, his 10th consecutive round in the 60s.
A tap-in par on the 18th gave him a two-shot win over Chris Kirk, who stayed in the hunt all day without ever putting too much pressure on Snedeker.
The hottest player in golf, Snedeker finally has a trophy to show for it.
“The last two weeks, playing great but running into two Hall of Famers, really motivated me to go out and prove that I can handle the lead,” he said.
With his fifth career win — and fourth over the past 22 months — Snedeker improved to a career-best No. 4 in the world, making him the second-highest American in the world ranking behind Woods.
Mediate gets Champions
Tour win in debut
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Rocco Mediate birdied the 18th hole and finished with a 1-under par 71 to win the Allianz Championship on Sunday.
He finished the tournament at 17-under 199 and became the 16th player to have a winning debut on the Champions Tour.
Mediate’s 4-foot birdie putt came after Tom Pernice Jr. missed a 5-footer at No. 18 that could have forced a playoff.
Mediate started the day with a three-shot lead, lost it by the 14th hole, but regained it when Pernice bogeyed the par-4 17th from a greenside bunker. Mediate protected that lead with a birdie on the par-5 closing hole.
“I’m ecstatic,” Mediate said. “I have been saying all week it’s never easy. It shouldn’t be easy. I was prepared to make that putt (at No. 18), but I didn’t have to.”
Pernice, who had a final-round 70, finished tied with Bernhard Langer (68) for second place.
Pernice was the last player to win his Champions Tour debut three years ago, but is still searching for his second title.
Sterne cruises to
Joburg title by 7 shots
JOHANNESBURG — Richard Sterne cruised to his first European Tour title in more than four years, winning the Joburg Open by seven shots on Sunday.
Sterne shot a bogey-free 64 to finish with a tournament record total of 27 under at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington golf course and win by the largest margin in tournament history.
Fellow overnight leader Trevor Fisher Jr. faltered on the final day, allowing Sterne to finish well clear of Charl Schwartzel (66) in second. Fisher eagled the first but sank to a 1-over 73 that dropped him to joint sixth, despite sitting five shots clear of the field with Sterne at the start of the final round.
Lydia Ko wins New
Zealand Women’s Open
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko won the New Zealand Women’s Open on Sunday for her third victory in a professional tournament.
In an outstanding 13-month spell, Ko has now won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest player, male or female, to win a professional event, the Canadian Open to become the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour, and now a professional tournament at home.