Atlanta, GA – Brandt Snedeker won the Tour Championship on Sunday and in the process, captured the FedExCup.
Snedeker, a third-round co-leader, shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday and finished at 10-under 270. He won by three shots over fellow overnight leader Justin Rose at East Lake Golf Club.
Snedeker had a very financially lucrative Sunday. He pocketed $10 million for the FedExCup win and an additional $1.44 million for his Tour Championship victory, which was his fourth PGA Tour title.
Snedeker began the week in fifth place on the Playoffs points list. It meant he controlled his own destiny. A win at the Tour Championship, and Snedeker would win the FedExCup.
A third-round 64 put him in position and a gritty final round earned him his biggest victory to date.
"At the end of the day, I had complete confidence in what I was doing out there," Snedeker said at the trophy presentation. "I played great. I don't know where it came from, but I'm going to try and rekindle it in the future."
Rose shot a 1-over 71 for second place.
Ryan Moore, who tied Snedeker for the lead on the back nine Sunday, finished with an even-par 70 and tied for third with Luke Donald, who had a 3-under 67 on Sunday. The pair finished at 6-under par.
Rory McIlroy began the final round two shots back and in the lead for the FedExCup. Despite wins at the last two PlayofFs events, McIlroy only managed a 4-over 74 on Sunday and fell into a tie for 10th place. He finished second in the FedExCup race.
"I've got to stay positive," McIlroy said in a televised interview. "I knew what I needed to do this week. I knew if I won, I'd win the whole thing. Brandt needed to do the same. He did what he needed to do. He played fantastic."
Tiger Woods also had a chance for a third FedExCup, but carded a 2-over 72 and shared eighth at 2-under par.
He finished third in the FedExCup, but that is much better than last year. In 2011, Woods didn't even qualify for a single Playoffs tournament, hampered by injuries and inconsistent play.
In 2012, Woods won three times.
"Considering where I was last year, it's nice to be where I'm at now," said Woods. "This year, I was able to turn it around. I played some pretty good golf this year."
On a day where every shot truly could shift the standings in the FedExCup race, Snedeker played consistently solid all day Sunday. There were hiccups, but Snedeker took the lead with a 9-foot birdie putt at the third.
Rose began to stumble with a bogey at five, then Snedeker found the water off the tee at the par-3 sixth. He ran his 6-foot bogey try by the hole and walked off with a double-bogey. He also walked off with a 1-shot lead thanks to another bogey from Rose on the same hole.
"I was actually relatively calm. It was the second time I did that this week," Snedeker said in his televised interview.
Snedeker, widely considered the best putter in the game, poured in a 40-footer for birdie to move two in front at the eighth.
Rose narrowed the gap with a birdie at 11 and Moore lurked after birdies at six and 11. Snedeker answered all challengers with an 18-foot birdie putt at the 13th to once again move two in front.
Moore rattled off back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 to tie Snedeker for the lead. Snedeker reclaimed the lead with a 2-putt birdie at the par-5 15th, then Moore bogeyed his last three holes to fall off the pace.
Snedeker put an exclamation point on this huge Sunday at the 17th. He narrowly missed the putting surface, but chipped in for birdie. Rose bogeyed the same hole, so Snedeker took a 4-shot lead to the par-3 18th tee.
Snedeker hit a horrendous 4-hybrid club long and left into the grandstands. After a free drop, Snedeker chipped 35 feet short of the cup. He missed his par save, but tapped in for bogey, the Tour Championship title and the FedExCup.
"I thought it went over the stands. I thought it went out of bounds," Snedeker said on TV of his tee shot at the last. "I knew it was going to be a tough day."
Snedeker started his day with a visit to Tucker Anderson, the 18-year-old son of his teacher, Todd Anderson. Tucker sustained head injuries in a near-fatal car accident a few Fridays back.
"He really uplifted me," Snedeker said. "He was awake and alert. I asked him if he thought I was going to beat Rory McIlroy today and he gave me a little wink. That's all I needed."
Now, Snedeker and his U.S. teammates are off to Medinah to try and get back the Ryder Cup. It was after the Deutsche Bank Championship, Davis Love III added him to the American team. Snedeker finished second at The Barclays and sixth at the Deutsche Bank to make Love's decision easy.
It sure looks like an inspired choice on Sunday.
Webb Simpson (66) and Bubba Watson (70) shared fifth at 5-under par, while Jim Furyk, another one of Love's choices, shot a 2-over 72 on Sunday and took seventh at minus-3.
Woods was joined by Hunter Mahan in eighth at 2-under par.
NOTES: Snedeker moved to third on the PGA Tour money list...He won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier in the year and this was Snedeker's first victory with the lead heading into the final round...Phil Mickelson had a 1-under 69 on Sunday and tied for 15th...Snedeker joined Woods, Vijay Singh, Furyk and Bill Haas as FedExCup winners...Next week is the Ryder Cup with Europe defending the Cup after its dramatic victory two years ago.