American Brandt Snedeker won the US PGA Tour Championship and claimed a $10 million bonus for capturing the tour season playoff title after firing a two-under par 68 in Sunday’s final round.
Snedeker was among five players, including 14-time major winner Tiger Woods and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who led in playoff points and could have claimed the playoff crown and bonus money simply with a victory in the 30-man showdown.
“I had complete confidence in what I was doing out there,” Snedeker said. “I putted great all week and made big putts when I needed to.”
In addition to the richest prize in golf, Snedeker won the $1.44 million top prize for winning the Tour Championship, the final event of the season for most of the tour’s top stars.
“He played fantastic,” McIlroy said. “He kept the lead and played well out there.”
Snedeker finished 72 holes on 10-under par 270 to defeat Britain’s Justin Rose by three strokes with Britain’s Luke Donald and American Ryan Moore sharing third on 274 and American Webb Simpson fifth on 275.
World No. 2 Woods, the 2007 and 2009 playoff champion, fired a 72 to finish in a share of eighth on 278. Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, who won two prior playoff series events, shot 74 to finish in a share of 10th on 279.
That left Snedeker atop the season playoff points race with McIlroy, the points leader entering the week, settling for second and Woods finishing third.
“I’ve got to stay positive. It has been a good year,” said McIlroy, whose three titles in his prior four starts included his second major crown at last month’s PGA Championship.
“The golf I have played has been great. I knew what I needed to do this week. I needed to win. Brandt needed to do the same. He did what he needed to do.”
An emotional Snedeker said as he accepted the trophy that golf was not the biggest thing on his mind this week.
Snedeker visited the hospitalized son of his swing coach before his round, taking a boost of encouragement from a friend who suffered severe injuries in an automobile crash.
“He really uplifted me,” Snedeker said. “I asked him if he thought I was going to beat Rory McIlroy and he gave me a little wink. I give him a lot of credit.”
Snedeker, who began the day sharing the lead with Rose, birdied the par-4 third from eight feet and stayed ahead of the Englishman even after a double bogey at the par-3 sixth when Rose made bogeys at the fifth and sixth.
Snedeker, 31, birdied the par-4 eighth but Rose, 32, answered with a birdie at the par-3 11th to keep the pressure on the American, who stretched his lead with a birdie at the par-4 13th and after both men birdied the par-5 15th.
At the 17th, Snedeker, found the right rough avoiding water to the left and blasted his approach short of the green.
He followed with a 27-foot chip in for birdie, pumping his left fist in celebration, while Rose took a bogey and fell four strokes off the pace as both men walked to the par-3 18th tee.
Snedeker sent his tee shot over the green near a grandstand but chipped onto the green, missed a long par putt and settled for a bogey that still brought him the biggest victory of his career.
“It was just unbelievable. Just kept it calm all day,” Snedeker said. “I don’t know where it came from but I will try to rekindle it more often in the future.”
The future is now for Snedeker, who will play for the Americans in next week’s Ryder Cup against McIlroy and the other Europeans at Medinah.