Brandt Snedeker won the U.S. PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff after Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead on the final hole.
Snedeker, 31, got into the playoff when Stanley made a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 18th hole at Torrey Pines Golf Club in La Jolla, California. Snedeker then collected his third career victory when Stanley, who was seeking his first win, missed a five-foot par putt on the second extra hole.
“You never want to see anybody go through that, not even your worst enemy on the planet,” Snedeker, who receives $1.04 million for the victory, said at a news conference. “But he’s an unbelievably talented player, and the sky’s the limit for him. I hope he does not beat himself up too much over this.”
Stanley, 24, entered the final round with a five-stroke lead and came to the closing hole with a three-shot advantage. His third shot on the par-5, a sand wedge from 77 yards, spun back into the pond in front of the green. After being assessed a penalty stroke and sending his next shot to the back of the green, he missed a 4-foot putt for double-bogey and the win.
Both players made birdie on the 18th hole to start the playoff. Snedeker then hit his tee shot over the green on the second playoff hole, the par-3 16th, and recovered to save par. Stanley came up short on his first putt and missed the par attempt to give Snedeker the victory.
“Looking back, I don’t really know what I was thinking. It’s not a hard golf hole,” Stanley said of No. 18. “It’s really a pretty straightforward par-5. I could probably play it a thousand times and never make an 8.”
As a rookie last year, Stanley had a two-shot lead with two holes to play at the John Deere Classic and bogeyed the final hole to finish one stroke behind winner Steve Stricker, who birdied the last two holes. Stanley’s collapse yesterday at Torrey Pines was similar to that of Jean Van de Velde, who blew a three-shot lead on the final hole of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie and lost in a playoff. Van de Velde’s lone European Tour victory after that came in 2006.
In 2010, Robert Garrigus blew a three-shot lead on the final hole of the PGA Tour’s St. Jude Classic and lost in a playoff, then rebounded to win the Children’s Miracle Network Classic five months later.
“I know I’ll be back. I’m not worried about that,” said Stanley, who was in tears during his post-round news conference. “It’s just tough to swallow right now. I just need to be patient. One of my goals coming into this year was to just keep putting myself in position, and I’ll do that.”
Snedeker, who had hip surgery in November, and Stanley finished 16-under par through four rounds, two shots better than John Rollins.
Tiger Woods skipped the event he won six times from 1999 through 2008 to play in a European Tour event in Abu Dhabi, where he finished third, two shots behind winner Robert Rock. Dustin Johnson, who at No. 9 was the highest-ranked golfer in the field at Torrey Pines, tied for 43rd at 5-under par.
The PGA Tour next moves to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the $6.1 million Phoenix Open from Feb. 2-5.
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