Time Phase Tour Championship

Brandt Snedeker controlled his own destiny going into the final stage of the PGA Tour Playoffs and proved up to the task on Sunday shooting a 2-under par 68 on his way to winning the Tour Championship and the Fed Ex Cup for 2012.

You can relive the final round below, just like the Post Game on Golf Channel but without the sophomoric blabber of Rich Lerner, Charlie Rymer, and Brandel Chamblee.
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Thursday September 20th before round 1

Fed Ex Kup Standings:

1st  Rory McIllroy
2nd Tiger Woods
3rd  Nick Watney
4th  Phil Mickelson
5th  Brandt Snedeker

All five can determine  their own fate.  Win the Tour Championship they win the FedEx Cup and all the semolians.  For Rory it would sear his brand on the #1 World Ranking.  For Tiger it would be his fourth win of the year and put him back in the discussion as Player of The Year.  This opportunity frames the hot new Rory-Tiger rivalry that has developed since the PGA Championship at Kiawah.

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Sunday 1:00 PM  before leaders tee off

Tour Championship Standings:

1st Brandt Snedeker -8   Justin Rose         -8
3rd Ryan Moore        -6
4th Rory McIlroy       -5    Bubba Watson    -5     Jim Furyk            -5

Snedeker has the most to gain with this win.  A quasi-major in the Tour Championship and a super major in the FedEx Cup and over $11,400,000 in cash would certainly change his life.

For Rose and Moore 24th and 28th respectively in the Fed Ex Standings at the beginning of the week the win of the Tour Championship would be a prestigious feather in their career cap and about $1.4 million in their bank accounts.   But they would need serious help to repeat Bill Haas’s accomplishment of stealing the cup from the bottom quartile.  It seems unlikely that McIllroy and Woods will both fall far enough from grace to give them a shot at the Overnight Delivery Grand Prize.

As this day has begun it looks like Mickelson and Watney are no threat to McIllroy. It is only Eldrick and Sneds that have Rory’s attention at this point.  Pretty confident that McIlroy is only seriously worried about the man in the red shirt.

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Sunday 3:30 PM leaders thru #8

Tour Championship Standings:

1st  Brandt Snedeker -8
2nd Justin Rose         -6
3rd  Ryan Moore        -6
4th  Jim Furyk            -5
5th  Bubba Watson    -4

After an early birdie got him to 10 under Sneds had his first hiccup with a nervous double bogie on six he looks shaken going to the seventh tee.

A great bounce back birdie for Snedeker on 8 asserting the long putting prowess that has buffeted him all week.  Justin Rose has struggled with two bogies so far but made a nice par save on the same hole to stay in touch with Snedeker.

Got to marvel at Ryan Moore handling this pressure.  With great focus he is finding fairways and greens.  So far the hole has been about 1/2 an inch too narrow to grace him with the birdies he has deserved with his aggressive putting.  But he is not going away.

At this point, McIllroy and Woods are both 4 over through the first seven and in a tandem nose dive to 11th and 14th respectively.  Not the start of the compelling duel between them that Tim Finchem was hoping for.

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Sunday 4:00 PM leaders thru #10

Tour Championship Standings:

1st  Brandt Snedeker  -8
2nd Ryan Moore         -7
3rd  Justin Rose         -6
4th  Jim Furyk            -5
5th  Bubba Watson    -4     Webb Simpson   -4     Luke Donald       -4

The pressure is starting to take it’s toll across the field.  Rose has had a number of chances to close the gap with some terrific iron play but his putter has lacked sufficient enthusiasm to cash in.

Moore just made a long birdie putt on the par three 11th to close within one shot.  But Snedeker answered with a clutch sand save on 10 right behind him-he is giving no quarter.

Jim Furyk is parring the course to death through the first 12 holes but him making pars does not make up any ground.

McIllroy finally made a birdie on 12 to stop the hemorhaging and settle back to 2 under.  Unlike the first three days, he looks uncomfortable out there, his distance and towardness control into the greens is sketchy and the ball on the green does not seem to have eyes for the cup.

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Sunday 4:40 PM leaders thru #13

Tour Championship Standings:

1st  Brandt Snedeker -9
2nd Ryan Moore        -8
3rd  Justin Rose        -7
4th  Luke Donald       -5       Webb Simpson   -5
6th  Bubba Watson    -4      Jim Furyk            -4

Luke Donald is proving he is still one of the best in the world on the greens.  With five birdies through 16 holes….only three bogies has kept him from from seriously threatening the lead.

Dustin Johnson has not been a factor.  He did show a momentary spark with an eagle on 15 after knocking it in close and made a birdie on the tough 17th with a long range bomb from way uptown. But gave most of it back with bogies on 16 and 18.

Webb Simpson still has bad memories of blowing out all four tires in last year’s Tour Championship and setting up Bill Haas’s unlikely come from the oblivion win in the Fed Ex Cup.  His play today provides some redemption.  Five birdies, including one on the tough par three finishing hole, earned him a 66, tie for the low round of the day, and moves up to 4th in the Tour Championship.

Once again Sneds long putting is proving to be his own best friend making another improbable one for birdie on the 13th to assert his advantage back to two shots.

Ryan Moore is one cool cucumber with that smooth unorthodox swing and those unorthodox True Linkswear shoes.  He has shown his ability to cope with the challenge burying a long one on 14 to get back to within one and take over second alone at 8 under.

It is likely that scoring opportunities on the par five 15th will be pivotal for guys who are chasing.  Hitting the fairway on the water confined 17th and showing respect for the difficult pin placements on 17 and 18 will be crucial for the leaders trying to avoid a train wreck that could decide this championship.
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Sunday 5:10 PM leaders thru #15

Tour Championship Standings:

1st  Brandt Snedeker -10
2nd Ryan Moore          -9
3rd  Justin Rose          -8
4th  Luke Donald         -6
5th  Webb Simpson     -5      Bubba Watson      -5

A shout out for the Tour’s tribute to the military on the 16th hole where every player walking off the green has the opportunity to shake the hands of active military personnel and thank them for their contribution to the freedom’s we enjoy.

As predicted Moore carded a second consecutive birdie on the pivotal 15th, chasing a hybrid approach just past the hole and getting up and down from behind the flag for a four.  This threw down the gauntlet putting him into a tie at the top of the leader board at 9 under.

But Sneds answered the challenge hitting the green in two and lagging it for a tap in birdie to get the lead back alone at 10 under.

Rose had a little magic of his own with a sand save birdie from the front bunker on 15 to stay within two.

One last bit of heroics for Luke-he hits it to 10 feet of the phone booth pin placement on the finishing par three and buries it for one more birdie to shoot 67 and take fourth alone at this six under.

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Sunday 5:45 PM-The Finish

Tour Championship Final Standings:

1st  Brandt Snedeker -10
2nd Justin Rose          -7
3rd  Luke Donald        -6          Ryan Moore         -6
5th  Webb Simpson    -5          Bubba Watson     -5

Fed Ex Cup Final Standings:

1st Brandt Snedeker               2nd Rory McIllroy                   3rd Tiger Woods

Tiger reclaimed a little bit of the red hue in his Sunday shirt hitting it stiff on 18 and sending the green side crowd into a momentary delirium as he had a tap in birdie to end his day.  Mission not accomplished, his two over 72 did not do much to improve his position in this championship, the FedEx Standing, or the Woods-McIllroy Rivalry.

Rory never had it together today with three bogies and a double ending the day with a lackluster four over 74.   Because of the reset bias from winning two previous playoff events he still finished second in the Final Fed Ex standing.

In a quaint memory moment, Furyk had the identical bunker shot up and down on 18 that won him the Tour Championship and Fed Ex Cup in the rain two years ago.  But his two over score left him high and dry today.

Bubba Watson made a scintillating birdie on 17 but hit the green side bunker going for the flag on 18 resulting in his fourth bogey to go with his four birdies. Result was he treaded water at five under for fifth place in the championship.

In a sharp reversal of fortune down the stretch, Ryan Moore squandered his chance with back-to-back-to-back bogies on 16, 17, and 18 getting out of position and missing all three greens.  Ends up T-3 with Looooook.

In retrospect it was apparent from the start that today was to be Snedeker’s coronation as a deserving champion of both the Tour Championship and the Fed Ex Cup.  The bounces went his way right to the end.  He banked his drive off the hospitality tents next to the driving area on 17 and then cleared the front bunker by two feet on his approach into the green.  He proceeded to replicate his hero Tom Watson’s accomplishment holing a short pitch for birdie on the 71st hole to seal the victory.  A safe bogey on the finishing hole and he had his arms around both trophies and a pile of cash.

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Snedeker’s stats for the week tell it all.

Number one in Birdies.
Number one in Strokes Gained Putting.
Number two in Putts Per Round.
Number three in Putts on Greens in Regulation.
Second in Fairways Hit.
Seventh in Greens In Regulation.
He only missed one putt from 8 feet or in all week.
That will get it done.

September, 2012

(For more background on Sneds read moegolf’s posting earlier this year)

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