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Miraculously, Snedeker Wins Farmers Insurance Open
The $6 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines was Kyle Stanley's to win. Unfortunately, that didn't happen for the 24-year-old native of Gig Harbor, Wash., who closed with a 2-over 74 and then lost on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to Brandt Snedeker.
Stanley began the final round with a five-stroke advantage - and seven over Snedeker - on the field. After four birdies and a bogey to make the turn in 3-under 33, he enjoyed a six-stroke edge. But consecutive bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes portended what was to come.
Stanley carded five straight pars before arriving at the par-5 18th still with a three-shot lead. By then, Snedeker was in second place thanks to a birdie on the last that give him a 5-under 67 for Sunday's low round.
Snedeker thought the tournament was over. But it wasn't. After hitting up to 75 yards with his second shot on the 72nd hole, Stanley hit his approach 20-plus feet beyond the cup, but it spun back and rolled into the pond fronting the green.
After a penalty drop from about the same distance as his third, Stanley hit his fifth shot well past the hole, where it stopped. Stanley's sixth came up short and he missed a four-foot downhiller for a triple-bogey eight, losing the remainder of his lead, tying Snedeker at 16-under 272, and sending the $6 million tournament into a sudden-death playoff.
Returning to the 18th for the first hole of the playoff, Snedeker pulled his drive into the fairway-side bunker but hit out to 88 yards - about the same place from where he birdied in regulation - and hit his third to three feet. Much further down the fairway with his drive, Stanley launched a metal club that hit the green but rolled through and settled into the rough at the back. Stanley then hit a beautiful chip shot to two feet. Both players made their birdies to send the playoff to the par-3 16th.
Going first, Stanley hit a 6-iron on the 188-yard hole that landed 20 feet from the cup but it rolled back, 47 feet out. With a 5-iron, Snedeker struck his tee shot well over the green. But his ball caromed off a CBS tower, preventing it from going into the hazard behind the putting surface. After two drops that rolled down the hill, Snedeker, overseen by PGA Tour official Mark Russell, was allowed to place his ball, a big advantage in the trampled grass. Snedeker then chipped his second out to just over five-and-a-half feet below and right of the hole.
Stanley's birdie try came up a couple of inches closer than Snedeker's marker. Putting first, Snedeker coolly rammed in his par attempt. Stanley's par-tying effort missed, giving Snedeker an unlikely victory - the third of his career - and a payday worth $1.044 million.
"I can't get my mind around what's happened in the last 30 minutes," a stunned Snedeker said at greenside. "I'm so excited. I feel for Kyle but he'll be back. I'm very, very fortunate."
A visibly shaken Stanley, who at one point in the final round led by seven shots and by four as he stood on the 17th green, could only mutter, "I played good all week - I'm kind of in shock right now."
Alone in third at 14-under 274 was John Rollins, who closed with a 71, while two strokes back in fourth were Bill Haas (72) and Cameron Tringale (71). Hunter Mahan (69) and John Hugh (74) ended up in sixth at 277, while tied for eighth were Jimmy Walker (70), Martin Flores (71), Justin Leonard (72), Rod Pampling (71) and D.A. Points (71).
Defending champion Bubba Watson closed with a 71 to end up sharing 13th at 279.
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