By Sam McPherson
It would have been a shame for Brandt Snedeker to waste his opening-round 59 at the Wyndham Championship, and he did not disappoint. He followed up his blistering first round with three rounds in the 60s, on his way to a 21-under-par finish and a three-shot victory on Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. Only a weather-delayed third round seemed to slow down Snedeker, as his lead shrunk to just one stroke. But a strong 65 on Sunday helped him clinch his ninth career PGA Tour victory and his second in this event.
Snedeker won the Wyndham back in 2007, and this was his first tournament title on Tour since February 2016. The 37-year-old pro from Tennessee now has multiple victories in three different PGA Tour events: the Wyndham (2007, 2018), the Farmers Insurance Open (2012, 2016), and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (2013, 2015). For this victory, Snedeker earned a $1.08 million paycheck and 500 FedExCup points. The Tour playoffs begin next week, and now Snedeker will start 50 spots higher in the points standings after a solid season capped off by this triumph.
C.T. Pan and Webb Simpson tied for second place in the Wyndham at 18-under par, while Jim Furyk and D.A. Points came in at 17-under to tie for fourth place. Those were the big points winners in terms of the FedExCup positioning, although Brian Gay and Ryan Moore also did well for themselves, with sixth-place finishes at 16-under par.
However, from the beginning, this was Snedeker’s tournament to lose, and that put a lot of pressure on him. He left the field in the dust during Thursday’s opening round, shooting a 59 to set the pace at 11-under par. He started the day on the 10th hole, making bogey, and then birdied four holes on his front nine to come in at 32. After that, he set Sedgefield’s front nine on fire, carding a 27 over his final nine holes: six birdies and an eagle. Moore and John Oda were the closest competitors at that point after they both posted rounds of 63 to tie for second place.
While he only shot 67 on Friday, it was enough for Snedeker to keep his tournament lead at 14-under par. His cushion was cut in half, however, as Points carded another round of 64 to come in at 12-under, alone in second place. Pan combined his 64 on Friday with a 65 from Thursday to sit in third, one stroke behind Points. Six golfers, including Sergio Garcia, were tied for fourth, two shots behind Pan.
Saturday’s third round was suspended to due to weather and not completed until Sunday morning, but when the round was done, Snedeker still had the lead. At 16-under par, he was one shot ahead of the surging Gay, who carded a 62 in the third round to leap up 13 spots on the leaderboard. David Hearn posted a 64 in the third round to tie Gay at 15 under, while Pan and Points stood two strokes off the lead at 14-under par.
No one could catch Snedeker, though, as his Sunday round featured three birdies on both the front nine and the back nine. Of the 10 golfers in PGA Tour history to break 60, Snedeker is now the fifth to win the tournament in which the sub-60 round was shot. One record-low round alone doesn’t win golf tournaments, but consistency does, and Snedeker showed that over four rounds at the Wyndham.
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Next On The Tee: The Northern Trust
Dustin Johnson is the defending champion for this opening event of the 2018 FedExCup Playoffs, played at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. The top 125 in the points standings compete in this first of four events that will decide the FedExCup champion. Last year that was Justin Thomas, and right now Johnson and Thomas sit atop the points standings in that order. Only the top 100 players after this event will advance to the second event in the playoffs, the Dell Technologies Championship.
While most of the top 125 will play in The Northern Trust, there are some notable exceptions: No. 17 Rickie Fowler is nursing an abdominal-muscle injury and will sit out, while No. 21 Rory McIlroy, the 2016 FedExCup champ, is taking some time off to prepare for the Ryder Cup, to be held in late September. The only other player missing from the top 125 is No. 93 Patrick Rodgers, who is attending a wedding. Since the top 100 move on to the next leg of the playoffs, there’s a fair chance Rodgers will not advance.
Formerly known as The Barclays, this event has been the opening tournament of the playoffs since 2007, although the course has varied year to year. This year’s loop is special, as A.W. Tillinghast designed the Ridgewood course in 1929, and Byron Nelson himself worked at the club in the 1930s as an assistant professional. In the FedExCup playoff years, the tournament record for aggregate scoring was set by Jason Day in 2015 at 261, while both Johnson (2011) and Day hold the record for strokes under par at 19.
The Ridgewood Country Club course plays 7,319 yards long and is a par 71.
Favorites: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas
Players to Watch: Francesco Molinari, Webb Simpson, Tiger Woods
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.