07/29/2013

After Hunter Mahan left on the lead Saturday morning to attend the birth of his daughter, it was Brandt Snedeker who said and let me paraphrase, ‘Hunter would have been really tough to catch, the way he drives the ball. I knew to catch him I would need to shoot something really low and make a lot of birdies.’ With no more Hunter, Snedeker became the hunter.

Although Brandt played fantastic golf all weekend, shooting scores of 70-69-63-70 for the week, he received a little help late Sunday. Dustin Johnson was tied for the lead heading into the 17th hole, playing great golf himself. It was one fateful decision, followed by a harrowing swing that ended his Canadian Open hopes.

Johnson hit driver on the par-4 17th, instead of the fairway wood many thought he would select. He’d said after his round, he was hitting his driver great all day and made only one bad swing. That bad swing came on the 17th where he blasted one out-of-bounds followed by another into a left-side bunker. A couple swipes and some putts later, Johnson walked with a triple-bogey, effectively ending his hopes of winning this week.

To touch on Johnson, he needs to figure out some of these ‘late-round blow-ups’ if he will ever become more consistent on Tour in the wins category. Too many awry decisions and untimely poor swings leave him outside the winner’s circle on Tour. Maybe Wayne can help Dustin in the mental aspect?

The victory on Sunday for Brandt was the 6th of his career and 2nd already this season, winning the AT&T at Pebble Beach this spring. Last year’s SnedEx Cup Champion is playing even better than he did last year, which is noteworthy in and of itself.

Take a look for yourself –  2012 (where he won the season long standings) compared to 2013:

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When comparing 2012 to 2013, Brandt has the same amount of wins, more 2nd place finished, more top-10s and more top-25s than only a year ago with 6 less events played. Maybe the only scar on his season has been his 4 missed cuts, during a bit of a cold streak late in March (Arnold Palmer and Shell Houston – back-to-back) and early in June (Memorial and St. Jude back-to-back as well).

To quantify the top-heaviness of this year’s FedEx Cup Standings, Brandt’s second win this season only moved him up one position in the FedEx Cup Standings.

The win meant more to Brandt than solely another PGA Tour trophy to add to the mantle. The Canadian Open has been a tournament coveted by Snedeker for a while, as his caddy Scott Vail is a Canadian himself. To many Canadians, Brandt is a bit of an adopted Canadian. The two – Scott and Brandt – are a duo who are friends off the course and hang out while traveling on Tour with one another. Together since 2006, they are beginning to build quite the relationship on Tour.

And it was even more solidified with this victory at Glen Abbey.

Troy Klongerbo

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