Curran does enough to put two Commodores in FedEx Cup field

Jon Curran has not had the best season on the PGA Tour.

When he’s been good, though, he’s been good enough.

The former Vanderbilt golfer is one of nine first-time qualifiers among the 125 players in contention for the FedEx Cup, the tour’s version of a playoff, which begins this week with The Barclays.

He made the cut in barley half of the tournaments he entered this season (14 of 27), his first as a full-time PGA Tour player, but five times ended up in the top 25. That included the Puerto Rico Open in March, when he finished tied for second after a five-man playoff.

It was enough for him to finish 105th in the FedEx Cup standings, seventh among the nine rookies.

The first-time FedEx Cup qualifiers (points position in parentheses): Justin Thomas (36), Tony Finau (39), Daniel Berger (46), Scott Pinckney (78), Adam Hadwin (95), Nick Taylor (102), Jon Curran (105), Zac Blair (106) and Carlos Ortiz (112).

Curran climbed as high as 81st in the standings after he tied for 10th at the Travelers Championship in late June. Since then he missed the cut in four of six events and finished no better than 60th.

He was an All-SEC player and All-American at Vanderbilt in 2007, when he finished eighth at the NCAA Championship. He shot a 64 in the second round at the NCAA Championship that year, which is tied for the third best score in program history.

Another former (and better known) Commodore, Brandt Snedeker, is 13th after eight top 10s, one championship and one runner-up finish.

The top 100 after The Barclays will remain in contention for the FedEx Cup.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Aug 25, 2015 2:40 PM

Snedeker shines for sponsor with PGA season's low round

For Brandt Snedeker, it was better than a hand-written note.

The PGA Tour veteran thanked one of his primary sponsors Friday with his play. Wearing a shirt with a Wyndham Worldwide logo on his chest he tied the course record with a round of 61 (9-under) Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

It was the lowest round on the PGA Tour this year.

He was at least four strokes better than every other player in the field during the second round and made all 16 putts he faced that were within 15 feet.

“You come to these weeks where you have sponsors – and I've done quite a few of these now, a few of my sponsored events – [you] always want to play well for them because A) they believe in you, that's why they're sponsoring you and, B) they're putting up a huge investment in the tournament as well,” Snedeker said.   “You feel like they want to make sure we realize how much we appreciate it out here.”

He started Friday’s round on the back nine, made five birdies in the first seven holes and made the turn in 30. He made four more birdies on his second nine and finished the day without a bogey.

The momentum carried into Saturday when he had three birdies without a bogey on the front nine and moved toward the top of the leaderboard. Over his final 27 holes, though, he made just three birdies with five bogeys and a triple bogey seven (the par-4 11th on Sunday).

His final-round 75 (his highest since early May) left him tied for 43rd.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Aug 24, 2015 5:10 AM

'Well-rested' Snedeker back in action on PGA Tour

After taking it easy for a few weeks Brandt Snedeker did not exactly ease back into competitive golf.

The Nashville native shot an even-par 70 on Thursday in the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that was anything but routine. His day included five birdies, five bogeys and eight pars.

He had not played since he missed the cut at last month’s British Open because his doctor recommended rest for back and hip problems. They layoff caused him to miss one event that he was scheduled to play, the RBC Canadian Open.

“This is as rested as I’ve been this time of year in a long time,” Snedeker said, according to “Get this hip thing under control, which I think I have, and keep working out and making sure it’s strong and good, and should be in good shape.”

Snedeker followed his first birdie with back-to-back bogeys, got to 2-under with four holes to play and then bogeyed two of the final four.

He is scheduled to tee off in the second round at 1:05 p.m. (CDT) Friday.

“Body felt amazing, the best it’s felt in three weeks (Thursday),” he said. “No issues whatsoever, so it’s nice to get out there and play some golf.”

His plan is to keep playing. This week’s tournament in Akron, Ohio is the first of five straight in which Snedeker is entered.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Aug 7, 2015 9:43 AM

Injury forces Snedeker to withdraw from this week's PGA Tour event

Brandt Snedeker “tweaked” his hip last week at the British Open.

That caused him to tweak his schedule.

Snedeker announced Tuesday that he has withdrawn from this week’s event, the RBC Canadian Open, due to injury. The Nashville native has played the event each of the past three seasons and won it in 2013. His roster of sponsors includes RBC.

“Very disappointed to not play … this week, but after flying to Colorado to see my Dr, I was advised my left hip needs rehab,” Snedeker wrote on Twitter.

“And rest to heal. I tweaked it at the U.S. Open, but luckily there is no structural damage. We are confident this will get me back to 100%

“I am so lucky to have sponsors that support me and my career 100%. I will miss Glen Abbey and all the great fans in Canada.”

Following four straight top 10 finishes, Snedeker missed the cut at the British Open with back-to-back 73s. It was his second missed cut in a major tournament this season. He also failed to make the weekend at The Masters but finished eighth at the U.S. Open.

He finished 25th at last year’s RBC Canadian Open.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jul 21, 2015 2:35 PM

Another Vanderbilt golfer starts to post top 10 PGA Tour finishes

It is not unusual to see a former Vanderbilt golfer finish among the top 10 in a PGA Tour event.

Two in the top 10? Even that is becoming increasingly common.

It now has happened three times since February, including twice in the last month. Former Commodores Brandt Snedeker and Jon Curran (pictured) were among the five players that wound up tied for 10th Sunday at the 2015 Travelers Championship even though neither finished as strong as they would have hoped.

Snedeker is practically a fixture in the top 10 these days. He ran his current streak of top 10s to four with this one, a result built largely on a stirring Saturday. He made seven birdies and no bogeys for a third-round 63, which was at least five strokes better than any of his other three rounds.

“Yeah, it was ideal,” he said. “The first 10 holes we didn't have a breath of wind, the greens were perfect, the ball was still moving pretty good, so you couldn't ask for better conditions (Saturday) morning.”

A double bogey on No. 17 Sunday left him at 1-over (71) on the final round and nearly knocked him out of the top 10.

Curran’s mistake Sunday came at the 15th and 16th holes when he made back-to-back bogeys (one more than he made in his previous 32 holes) that cost him an opportunity to play at next month’s British Open.

The top four finishers at the Travelers not already qualified automatically earned a spot in the field for the season’s third major, provided they finished in the top 12 overall. Curran satisfied the latter of those requirements but ultimately tied for fifth among those looking to get one of the four available slots.

“It was on my mind,” Curran said, via the Boston Herald. “It’s tough to tell because you don’t know. It’s top four for guys to qualify. I don’t know who exactly was qualifying, so I’m not staring at the leaderboard. But I knew some sort of top 6-7-8 finish could give me a good shot at it. I don’t think it altered my play at all. I didn’t mess up because of it. It’s just a really tough finish right now.”

He still managed to shoot under par for all four rounds but his 1-under (69) on Sunday came after three straight 67s.

That was enough for his fifth top 10 of the season, the second in his last three starts. He also matched Snedeker at the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, where each finished tied for sixth, and was tied for 10th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which Snedeker won.

This is Curran’s first full season on the PGA Tour. He has made the cut in 12 of the 21 events he’s played and currently ranks 81st in the FedEx Cup standings and 72nd on the money list.

He could do a lot worse than to match Snedeker (sixth on the money list) a few more times.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jun 29, 2015 2:51 PM

With experience, Snedeker adjusts definition of PGA Tour success

When Brandt Snedeker won his first PGA Tour event as a rookie, he looked forward to many more titles.

A four-year gap until he did it again? He never saw that coming.

In a story this week posted on the PGA Tour’s website, the Nashville native and Vanderbilt graduate talked about how a PGA player’s definition of success has to change given that so many players are capable of winning in any week.

“I used to live and die over whether I won,” Snedeker said. “I was pressing too hard, pushing the envelope, taking chances going for birdies when par was the goal. It took time to understand what winning was out here.”

He was one win on tour this season (the seventh of his nine-year career) came at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February. After that came a rough stretch of seven events during which he missed two cuts and finished in the top 20 twice but failed to crack the top 10.

He entered this week’s tournament, the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn., with three straight top 10 finishes, including eighth place at last week’s U.S. Open.

“You have to have a clear understanding of what's successful," Snedeker said. "You have to see it as having a chance on Sunday. Putting yourself in position is all you can do. I've done that the last three starts.”

In Thursday’s opening round of the Travelers, he made six birdies, including four on a stretch from No. 13 through No. 18, but also had two bogeys and a double bogey. His 2-under (68) had him tied for 51st entering Friday’s round.

As he has learned over time, though, all is not lost. It rarely ever is on the PGA Tour.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jun 26, 2015 6:51 AM

Snedeker stumbles on back nine, settles for top 10 at U.S. Open

Brandt Snedeker knew exactly what it would take to win the U.S. Open.

Nine holes into Sunday’s final round he was halfway there.

“I felt like if I could shoot 6-under par (Sunday), I might have a legit chance,” he said. “I shot 3[-under] on the front nine to get to 2[-under]. I knew 16 and 18 were legit birdie holes, and we had 12. I thought I had a chance of doing that and posting 5[-under].”

A run of four straight birdies, beginning at No. 6, put him on pace and gave him momentum headed to the back nine. Plus, he did — in fact — make birdies and the 16th and 18th holes at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

In between, though, the Nashville native and Vanderbilt graduate made his “only really awful swing all week,” which led to a bogey on No. 11, and hit into a pot bunker on No. 14, which led to a double bogey.

The result was a 1-over 36 on the back nine and an eighth-place finish, his second straight top 10 at the U.S. Open. A year ago, he finished tied for ninth, which also was the last time he had a top 10 finish at one of golf’s four majors.

Even with the stumble on the way to the finish, Sunday’s 68 was his best round of the tournament. Snedeker opened with a 69 (1-under) on Thursday, a 72 on Friday and 70 Saturday, which had him close enough to the four players who shared the 54-hole lead that he could see a way to win his first major. He just wasn’t able to make his vision come true.

One of those four, Jordan Spieth, won at 5-under, the exact score Snedeker thought it would take.

“It was a good day,” he said. “And [I am] very disappointed right now just because I did a great job on the front nine giving myself a chance. Going to the back nine – and the back nine was gettable –I didn't execute the shots I needed to on 10 through 14, and kind of put myself behind the 8 ball. And really disappointed with that because I was playing really, really well.

“[You have] to be able to find a way to get yourself some birdie putts, and I didn't do that.”

Jun 22, 2015 6:31 AM

British gambling analyst sees Snedeker as best bet for U.S. Open

Brandt Snedeker has not won a U.S. Open – or any of golf’s four majors, for that matter.

The Nashville native and Vanderbilt graduate has been close, though.

Now Ben Coley, a golf analyst for the British gambling website Sporting Life, sees Snedeker as the one to beat in the 115th U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at the much-talked-about Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Washington.

Snedeker is the same age as recent breakthrough major champions Adam Scott and Justin Rose and while he wouldn’t perhaps have carried the expectations of those two into his thirties, as a multiple PGA Tour winner he has nothing more to prove bar landing one of the four most coveted titles.

… Snedeker’s US Open record also speaks of his ability to approach any challenge with the right attitude, and it is attitude which could really help separate the field this week. The man from Tennessee has six top-25 finishes from his last seven appearances in his national championship, ranging from the brutally tough Oakmont to the rain-soaked Congressional, the old-fashioned straight-and-narrow test of Merion and the firm-and-fast Pinehurst a year ago.

Snedeker has six career top 10 finishes in the majors, including at least one in each of the last three years. His best performances are a pair of third-place finishes, at the 2008 Masters and the 2012 U.S. Open.

He had made the cut in eight straight majors before he missed the cut at this year’s first, The Masters. However, this season he has won once, finished runner-up once on the PGA Tour, has six top 10s and is eighth in the FedEx Cup standings.

More from Coley:

I like Snedeker because he is exceptional around the greens, plays firm and fast golf courses well and has a strong US Open record. He also arrives in form courtesy of two top-six finishes in his last two starts, is a winner this year and ranks among the best players in the sport without a major to their name. But chief among all the factors in his favour is attitude – Snedeker’s is among the best in the game.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jun 15, 2015 12:23 PM

Snedeker shakes off slow start for second straight top 10 finish

Another week another top 10 for Brandt Snedeker.

The Nashville native felt a little better about his tie for sixth in the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic than he did a week earlier when he was the runner-up at the Crowne Plaza Colonial.

The difference was that he never felt he had a chance to win this time. His back-to-back 64s on Saturday and Sunday gave him the lowest total in the field for the final two rounds. A first-round 71 (2-over) effectively took him out of contention right from the start, though.

“Started a little too far back (Sunday),” Snedeker said.  “I didn't have a great front-9 and has behind the 8 ball a little bit. Putted great last 9 holes and made some birdies and ended up with a good finish this week.

“But disappointing because I played so bad the 1st Round, put myself out of the tournament.”

Bad starts have not been a problem for Snedeker this season. Far from it, in fact. He ranks 30th on the PGA Tour for first round scoring average (70.31). The only round in which he is ranked higher is the third.

A look at Brandt Snedeker’s 2015 scoring average, by round:

First round: Average score – 70.31; rank – 30th
Second round: Average score – 70.50; rank – 74th
Third round: Average score – 69.43; rank – 25th
Fourth round: Average score – 69.69; rank – 39th

Snedeker earned $246,725 for the week and is currently eighth on the PGA Tour money list and FedEx Cup standings.

“I've won from five, six, seven behind before,” he said. “There's always a chance.  I needed to have a really good front-9 (Sunday).  I didn't do that.  I shot 1-under par.  … Still good finish and good week.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

Jun 1, 2015 12:33 PM

Latest top 10 finish has zero meaning to Snedeker

First things first: Brandt Snedeker does not care that he finished second.

“I don't play for seconds out here [on the PGA Tour],” he said Sunday following his runner-up finish at the Crowne Plaza Colonial in Fort Worth. “I could care less about Top 10s and stuff like that. So it's disappointing.”

That’s too bad, really, considering he is pretty good in that regard.

He’s currently tied for fifth in top 10 finishes on the tour this season with five. Others who have the same number include Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, and Jimmy Walker, a two-time winner this year.

The leaders in top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season (through Sunday):

Jordan Speith – 8

Hideki Matsuyama – 7

Kevin Na – 6
Robert Streb – 6

Brandt Snedeker – 5
Paul Casey – 5
J.B. Holmes – 5
Dustin Johnson – 5
Rory McIlroy – 5
Justin Thomas – 5
Jimmy Walker – 5

This latest one was his first in more than three months. Between his victory Feb. 15 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am and last week, he played eight times. Twice he cracked the top 20. Twice he missed the cut and in the other four he was well off the pace.

At Colonial, he was in contention all the way to the 72nd hole. He missed a birdie putt on No. 18 Sunday that would have forced a playoff with champion Chris Kirk.

“I've seen that putt hit here a thousand times, I know exactly how you're supposed to hit it and it was my worst putt of the day, which was really disappointing because I really played pretty well, hit a bunch of great putts (Sunday) and just wasn't able to get it done,” Snedeker said.

Snedeker already has more top 10s than he had all of last season (three) and is more than halfway to his career high (nine) set in 2013.

Typically, he plays about 26 events a year. He has teed it up 16 times this season, which means he should have plenty of opportunities to add to that number – not that he cares.

“You don't like losing golf tournaments especially with good chances like I had coming down the stretch,” Snedeker said. “… I'm playing (this) week at Byron Nelson, excited about it.  [It’s] a golf course I like. [I’m] playing good, so it should bode well.  Typically when I play good I get on streaks, so hopefully I can do that again next week.”

Actually, he’d like to do a little better.

(Photo: Getty Images)

May 26, 2015 6:24 AM