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Snedeker captures RBC Canadian Open by three shots

The Canadian Press

7/28/2013 9:11:54 PM

OAKVILLE, Ont. -- Brandt Snedeker has had his eye on the RBC Canadian Open title for some time.

The early arrival of a baby in Texas helped make it happen.

Snedeker moved to the top of the field after second-round leader Hunter Mahan withdrew when his wife unexpectedly went into labour, and held on Sunday for his second victory of the season and the sixth of his career.

Mahan, who had a two-stroke lead at 13 under through 36 holes, rushed home to be with wife Kandi, who gave birth to daughter Zoe early Sunday.

"Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me. I can't thank Kandi enough for going into labour early. I don't know if I'd be sitting here if she hadn't," Snedeker said with a laugh after shooting a final-round 70 to finish 16 under. "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."

Dustin Johnson (70), Matt Kuchar (71), William McGrit (68) and Jason Bohn (71) tied for second at 13 under behind Snedeker, who said winning the PGA Tour's only stop north of the border is special for a number of reasons.

"This is a tournament I said early on in my career I wanted to win just because my caddie is actually from Canada and it's his national open. It meant a lot to him, meant a lot to me," said the 32-year-old from Nashville. "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."

After a Saturday that saw a number of players score in the mid-60s thanks to a calm morning and a soggy afternoon, Glen Abbey Golf Club bit back with breezy conditions at the suburban course some 40 kilometres west of Toronto.

"The wind was blowing very hard. Every fairway was tough to hit, every green was getting firm. It placed an importance on managing your golf ball," Snedeker said. "I was able to hit some quality shots coming down the stretch when I needed to and put the ball in the right spot."

Snedeker, who pocketed $1,008,000 of the tournament's $5.6-million purse, also won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February and is finally healthy after a bothersome rib injury.

"First part of the year, I couldn't do anything wrong. I was playing fantastic, and I got injured. I feel like I've been fighting to get myself back to the way I was at the beginning of the year," said Snedeker. "I'm not saying I'm there, but I'm close to the way I was playing in the beginning of the year."

Snedeker, the 2012 FedEx Cup champion whose best-ever finish at a Canadian Open was a tie for fifth at Glen Abbey in 2009, was 1 under on the day after the front nine and birdied No. 10 to move to 16 under overall. He gave that shot back on No. 12, but birdied No. 16 and parred No. 17 and No. 18 to secure the victory.

"It feels great to get a win to validate all the hard work I've put in over the past three months where I haven't played my best," Snedeker said. "To win a tournament like this with those pivotal holes coming down the stretch means a lot."

Johnson started the day in a group three shots back of Snedeker and fought his way into a share of the lead, only to see the wheels fall off in spectacular fashion at No. 17 with a triple bogey that started with an errant drive.

"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."

John Merrick, who tied a course record on Friday with a 62, shot 71 to finish in a tie for sixth at 12 under. David Lingmerth started the day in the final group a shot back Snedeker but ended up with a 75 to finish in a tie for 12th at 10 under.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., was the top Canadian at the par-72, 7,253-yard course with a final-round 73 to finish at 4 under. The 34-year-old had three birdies on Sunday to go along with two bogeys and double bogey to finish in a tie for 44th.

"It wasn't the finish that I was really looking for. I had a nice chance today," said Hearn, who was also the low Canadian at the tournament back in 2006. "I'll take away some positives from the week. I appreciate the support from everyone here this week and it always feels good to play at home."

Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., shot an even-par 72 to finish tied for 49th at 3 under. The 43-year-old's tournament highlight came in Friday's second round when he fired 67 to briefly get into contention.

"I'm playing fine. Just missing too many short putts. I missed a number the last couple days inside six, seven feet, just missing way too many of those," said Weir, who made his first cut at a Canadian Open since 2009. "You need those to keep your round going sometimes and I just didn't capitalize when I had opportunities.

"I had one good day of putting and the rest not very good."

Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., had an up-and-down day that culminated with three straight birdies to wind up with a final-round 72 in a tie for 52nd at 2 under.

The 26-year-old plays on the Web.com Tour but showed he can compete alongside some of golf's best.

"The PGA Tour is not way up there anymore. It's just within grasp," Sloan said. "It's comforting to know if I stick to the process and stay committed to what I'm doing, I'm going to be out here soon."

Notes: Snedeker now sits third in the FedEx Cup standings behind Tiger Woods and Kuchar. ... McGrit also finished tied for second at last year's Canadian Open at The Hamilton Golf and Country Club. ... The last Canadian to win this country's national open was English-born Pat Fletcher in 1954. The only Canadian-born golfer to win the tournament was Karl Keffer (1909, 1914). Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913. ... 2012 RBC Canadian Open champion Scott Piercy (71) finished tied for 52nd. ... The 2014 tournament will be played at Royal Montreal.