Going into February, Brandt Snedeker held a decent lead in the young season’s FedEx Cup rankings, picking up where he left off after winning the Cup last year. He was able to do this merely by being almost the best during the first five tournaments. Snedeker entered the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with three Top 5 finishes and seemed to be on a mission to get over the hump that was the second spot. Snedeker cruised to victory, putting up all four rounds under 70 to finish with a solid 19 under par for his first victory of the season. Snedeker was in contention from the start, posting a 6-under-par 66 in round one followed by a 2-under 68 in round 2. His third round score kept him within striking distance of the lead as he was able to hit a 4-under 68. He had room and he went in and took his first victory by dominating in the final day, recording his best score of the tournament with a 7-under 65, putting him two strokes ahead of Chris Kurk, despite finishing strong with a 14 under par over the final two rounds. Snedeker won this tournament the same way he’s been able to contain the top spot of the standings: consistency. At no point did Snedeker post the best score of a single round, but he finished at the top and played big when he needed to, securing his first PGA Tour victory of 2013, and the seventh of his career.
Snedeker was already in the top spot of the rankings, and with this victory secures his spot for at least another week. Snedeker sits very comfortably at first with a total of 1,282 points, a whole 700 points ahead of the next competitor Brian Gay, who has 582 points. Then the rankings get a whole lot closer: Phil Mickelson sits just 26 points behind Gay at third with 556 points. Dustin Johnson remains at fourth with 516 points, but Russel Henley is right behind him a whole point away at 515. The rankings remain the same as last week in terms of the top seven with Charles Howell III at the six spot and Tiger Woods looking over Howell’s shoulder into the top five at seventh place. The winner of next week’s Northern Trust Open gains 500 points, so regardless of any outcome Snedeker is safe in first.
Upcoming: Northern Trust Open
The PGA Tour remains in California for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, located in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Brandt Snedeker will choose to take advantage of his large early lead and will not be participating in this week’s tournament. The remaining players in the current top five will all participate, looking to take advantage of Snedeker. Chris Kirk took a large leap in the rankings from 33rd to 8th following an impressively strong second half at Pebble Beach and hopes to build on that momentum to try to continue climbing. Kevin Stadler also had an impressive outing, being the only player other than Snedeker to have all scores under 70 as he finished third last week. Stadler’s performance also gave him a huge boost as he leaped from 47th to 17th in the rankings as he has progressed throughout the season from not making the cut on his first outing, to a 27th place finish, followed by an 11th place finish leading up to last week’s Top 3 performance.