Brandt Snedeker fired a two-under 70 on Sunday and held off a late charge by fellow American Dustin Johnson to win the US$5.6 million PGA Canadian Open by three strokes.
Snedeker captured his sixth career PGA title and second of the year after a February triumph at Pebble Beach, finishing on 16-under 272, with countrymen Johnson, Jason Bohn, Matt Kuchar and William McGirt sharing second on 275.
It was Snedeker’s third triumph in his past four attempts to win a PGA event with a 54-hole lead, having also done so at Pebble Beach and last year’s Tour Championship. He also led the Masters after 54 holes, but settled for a share of sixth.
Snedeker claimed the US$1 million top prize at Glen Abbey Golf Club after shooting a third-round 63 on Saturday to take the lead following the departure of 36-hole leader Hunter Mahan, who withdrew to attend the birth of his first child — daughter Zoe was born early on Sunday morning.
“Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me,” Snedeker said. “I can’t thank Kandi enough for going into labor early. I don’t know if I’d be sitting here if she hadn’t, but that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born, and it was the best decision I ever made. I’m sure Hunter would say the same thing.”
Snedeker birdied the par-five second hole and answered a bogey at the sixth with a birdie at the par-three seventh to stretch his lead to two strokes. After starting the back nine with a birdie, Snedeker was on 16-under and three strokes ahead.
However, when Snedeker took a bogey at the par-three 12th, he opened the door for Johnson, who birdied the par-five 13th and 16th to grab a share of the lead.
Johnson’s title bid collapsed on the 17th, when he fired the ball out of bounds and then he left his fourth shot in a fairway bunker on the way to a triple-bogey seven that dumped him out of contention, even after a closing birdie at the par-five 18th.
“I was playing really well,” Johnson said. “Really confident, swinging the driver really good. So you know, it’s a driver hole for me, and I just blocked it a little bit. Made a poor swing ... Not too happy, but I felt really good with my golf game ... It’s nothing, nothing to worry about. I’ll go get them next weekend.”
From there, Snedeker added a birdie at 16 and parred the final two holes to secure the victory.
“Just ecstatic right now,” Snedeker said. “This is a tournament I said early on in my career I wanted to win just because my caddie [Scott Vail] is actually from Canada and it’s his national open. It meant a lot to him, meant a lot to me. Third-oldest tournament on tour and it’s got some great history to it, and now to put my name on that trophy it means a lot.”
Americans Mark Wilson, John Merrick and Roberto Castro shared sixth on 276.