Snedeker notches surprise victory

- By Steve Dimeglio USA TODAY

SAN DIEGO — Sitting in the media center Sunday for a postround interview, Brandt Snedeker had just started talking about falling a few strokes short and finishing second in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Less than an hour later, he was holding the championsh­ip hardware.

Snedeker watched on television as Kyle Stanley made a disastrous triple-bogey 8 on the final hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course to wipe out what once was a sevenstrok­e lead. After racing to the putting green and refocusing his mind, Snedeker matched Stanley’s birdie on the first playoff hole, then won his third PGA Tour title with a par on the second playoff hole when Stanley three-putted from 47 feet.

“It’s just crazy,” Snedeker said moments after his victory. “To get my mind around what just happened is tough. I’m excited, and I’m shaking.”

Snedeker, who started the fi- nal round seven shots behind Stanley and fell nine behind after his first four holes, forced the issue with a 5-under-par 67 in idyllic conditions. Stanley, who looked calm through the first 63 holes, came home with a 41 on the back nine to shoot 74. The two finished at 16-under-par 272. John Rollins (71) finished third, two strokes back.

“I’m kind of in shock right now. I just don’t know what to say,” said Stanley, who was looking for his first Tour title in his 41st start and would have earned an invitation to play in the Masters in April.

He took a five-shot lead into Sunday after a first-round 10under 62 on the North Course and consecutiv­e 68s on the South Course. Three holes into the final round, he had built the lead to seven strokes and looked to be righting his ship with three successful gut-check par putts on holes 14 to 16.

But on the 536-yard, par-5 final hole, Stanley spun his third shot back off the green and into a water hazard. He then threeputte­d from 47 feet to let Sne- deker back into the tournament.

“It’s tough to take,” Stanley said as he teared up in the postround interview. “I could probably play the 18th 1,000 times without making an 8. I know I’ll be back. It’s just so hard to swallow right now.”

Snedeker is making a habit out of coming back.

He trailed by five shots entering the final round before earning his first Tour win in the 2007 Wyndham Championsh­ip and trailed by six shots after 54 holes before winning his second title in the 2011 Heritage.

As for Stanley, Snedeker can relate. He shot a final-round 77 to fall back into a tie for third in the 2008 Masters and needed a long time to get over it.

“Golf is such a funny game, and to have that kind of lead coming into the last hole and not to win is tough. It will be a tough night for him,” Snedeker said. “But he’s an unbelievab­ly talented player, and the sky’s the limit for him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s contending again really soon.”

 ?? By Chris Carlson, AP ?? Worth the extra work: Brandt Snedeker celebrates after beating Kyle Stanley on the second playoff hole Sunday in San Diego.
By Chris Carlson, AP Worth the extra work: Brandt Snedeker celebrates after beating Kyle Stanley on the second playoff hole Sunday in San Diego.

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