Snedeker beats Donald in three-hole playoffHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Brandt Snedeker teed it up in the final round of The Heritage and had absolutely no expectations. He started the day six shots behind third-round leader Luke Donald, who could have risen to No. 1 in the world with a win and five from Jim Furyk, the defending champion. As it worked out, Snedeker had the perfect approach, as he rode no expectations to a final-round 7 under 64 that ultimately led to a playoff with Donald. Snedeker won on the third extra hole.
Snedeker posted his total score of 272 nearly two hours before Donald finished on the same number to force extra holes. Both players birdied the first playoff hole, the 18th, parred the next, the 17th and returned to 18 for the third and final hole as Snedeker made par-4 to a bogey-5 for Donald.
“ I went out there and I worked really hard with my instructor last night for a couple hours after we got done,” Snedeker said. “I didn't play very well yesterday. Came out today and just kind of everything clicked. I drove the ball fantastic. Came up with a lot of birdie opportunities. I think I only missed a couple of greens out there on the golf course. I was really striking the golf ball pretty well. I rolled it the way like I've been rolling it for the last month, just fantastic. Got good looks at it.
“It's a storybook ending really, to be playing Luke in a playoff, to even have a chance to win was exciting to me,” he added. “And Luke is trying to get No. 1 in the world and I know what that meant to him. I'm sure he'll be at No. 1 in the world at some point because he's that kind of class player. But to be able to beat him was really special. It made it that much more exciting.”
The win was the second of Snedeker’s career and first since his rookie season of 2007.
“ I know it's been four years, it seems a lot longer than that,” Snedeker said. “I can't put it into words how much this win means to me, because the first one was my rookie year. You come out here and don't really know what to expect. To win like that was kind of out of nowhere. And to win this time, after all the hard work I put in the last three or four years, trying to improve, trying to get better, I feel like my game is finally there, especially with a newborn at home and everything that entails. I'm sure there's no secret that that's probably the reason why I won, was having that distraction, having that, I guess, comfort at home, knowing that I've got a family now and how special that is, and how fortunate we are to have that.
“I give her full credit. She doesn't know yet. She slept through the whole thing this afternoon. But I'll be able to see her before too long.”
For Donald, the disappointment of finishing second stung, but he proved himself classy in defeat.
“Yeah, obviously first of all hats off to Brandt,” Donald said. “He played a fantastic round today and I just came up a little short. Unfortunately both on the 72nd hole and that second playoff hole on 18, I got a little bit stuck in between clubs, and didn't hit great shots. And just came up short, unfortunately.”
On the final hole of the playoff, Donald plugged his ball in the front greenside bunker and hit the ball out to the left, just off the green. His chip caught the right edge of the cup, but didn’t drop and that was the end.
Donald was well aware of his chance to be the new world No.1 with a win, but he was sure he’d find the positives and move onto next week. He also knows he will have more chances to get the coveted top spot.
It's hard to put that out of your mind, but for sure. It was going to be some big rewards if I won today. But I'll try and find the positives from this week and move on to next week.
“Yes, and certainly No. 1 is not the final goal,” he said. “It's a constant travel. You're constantly moving forward in this game. To be No. 1 would be great, but it's not everything. It certainly would be a tick in the box and it would be something great to talk to the grandkids in 30 years' time and say that you were the best in the world, but I still have a lot of chances to do that.”
Tommy Gainey finished sole third at 11 under, Tim Herron and Ricky Barnes shared fourth at minus-10 and Nick O’Hern, Ben Crane and Pat Perez tied for sixth, four behind the winning score.
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