PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Though Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are ahead of Brandt Snedeker in the world rankings, today he might be the best golfer on the planet.
When Snedeker won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am Sunday, it gave him a victory after two seconds the previous two weeks. He also has a third-place finish in five tournaments this year. Sixteen of his last 17 rounds have been in the 60s, including all four this week. "It's hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I've had the last couple months," Snedeker said.
Snedeker, 32, who with the win rose to No. 4 in the world, the highest ranking of his career and second only to Woods among Americans, shot 7-under-par 65 at Pebble Beach Sunday. The final round was held under sunny skies with temperatures in the high 50s.
His eagle on the 502-yard, par-5 second hole after a 2-iron to within 4 feet enabled Snedeker to break away from James Hahn, with whom he was tied after three rounds.
Snedeker's 19-under 267 total was one stroke off the tournament record shared by Mark O'Meara and Phil Mickelson. Two shots back in second was Chris Kirk (66). Kevin Stadler (65), Jimmy Walker (66) and Hahn (70) tied for third, five shots back. Mickelson, the 2012 winner of this event, tied for 60th. Woods wasn't entered.
There's no question what Snedeker, winner of last year's Tour Championship, needs now: a major. "That's next on my list," he told CBS-TV.
Snedeker and amateur partner Toby Wilt, an investor from Nashville who carries a 7-handicap, shared the pro-am title with pro Michael Letzig and 18-handicapper John Erickson. Each team had a net best-ball score of 31-under 255.
Hahn, a graduate of Cal-Berkeley, 125 miles north -- no Cal grad ever has won a PGA Tour event -- said he learned a lot from playing with the winner.
Snedeker called Pebble a special place. "And to win with a friend . . . you can't make this stuff up."
He doesn't have to after getting his putts down.
"It's something you dream about, something you think you can do," he said of his success, "but you don't really know until you actually put it together. And I have."
Absolutely. Snedeker showed flashes a year ago, leading the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes after two rounds before tying for third.
A reporter observed that some American PGA Tour members are known as prodigies, some as flashy dressers and some as people's champions. He asked Snedeker what he wanted to be known for. His answer was clear.
"I would love to be known as the best American golfer."
The chance of that happening appears very real.
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