Brandt Snedeker has officially thrown himself into the 2013 PGA Tour player of the year race. It's a two-horse event right now (Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, if you were wondering) but with a PGA Championship win or his second FedEx Cup title, Snedeker can sneak through the back door.
Snedeker won his second event of the year on Sunday in Canada with a final-round 70. It's also his eighth top-10 finish on the year.
After starting out as the hottest golfer on Tour with four top-three finishes in five weeks at the beginning of 2013, Snedeker struggled for a stretch as he dealt with a rib injury. His mini-comeback after a layoff started off nicely with a T6 at Augusta but he missed two of his next four tournaments before again contending at both the US and British Opens and now winning the Canadian Open -- incidentally sponsored by RBC which also sponsors Snedeker.
Snedeker joins Woods, Mickelson, and second-place finisher at the Canadian Open, Matt Kuchar, as the only two-time winners on Tour this year. Coincidentally, I think they're the four guys with the best chance to take hold of the player of the year race.
After the tournament Snedeker told CBS he really wanted this one.
"This one is one I wanted to play well in. The course played so tough today but I played well coming down the stretch."
He then did a double fist pump for the camera and ran up the hill, high-fiving the fans who came out to see him get his sixth career win.
The Tennessean was locked in a battle with Dustin Johnson for much of the day but Johnson finally relented after a triple bogey on the 17th hole that, essentially, gave Snedeker the tournament.
To Snedeker's credit though he kept putting right at holes, refusing to change his go-for-broke style despite having a three-shot lead.
It's really one of my favorite things about Snedeker and I think one of the things that makes him great. A lot of guys on Tour have a tendency to overthink what the leaderboard is doing around them. Snedeker just goes out and hits shots.
Here's what he said before his fourth round:
"I'm not too concerned about my number right now. I know what I have to do tomorrow."
He did, and he did.
Here are our grades for the Canadian Open:
|A||Hunter Mahan takes a "WD" for the tournament but gets an "A" for foregoing a potential million-dollar windfall to attend the birth of his first child. First rate, Cowboy.|
|A||Brandt Snedeker joins bumps himself up to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup rankings. He could become the second two-time winner of that event in a month (Woods).|
|A||I could give Dustin Johnson a "B" for triple-bogeying the 17th hole on Sunday and taking himself out of the tournament but that seems unfair given the way he played all week. His triple was his first score worse than par since Friday, costly though.|
|B||David Hearn finished T44 at 4 under but takes home low Canadian honors at the Canadian Open. Seems like tht should mean something.|
|D||Graeme McDowell's streak of only missing cuts or winning tournaments was only interrupted by a T58 finish at the British Open. He missed the third-day cut here by firing a 76.|