Brandt Snedeker kept knocking on the door.
Coming into the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Snedeker had finished second the previous two weeks on the PGA Tour. Three weeks ago, the Nashvillian lost to Tiger Woods by four shots. Last week it was Phil Mickelson who left Snedeker to pick up second place in Phoenix.
The scars healed. He never quit believing. Snedeker's golf game was as sound as it has been since he turned pro.
As the sun began to set Sunday at picturesque Pebble Beach, the Nashville golfer knocked the door down. He won his fifth career win by two strokes over Chris Kirk.
The victory kept him No. 1 on the money list with $2,831,000 in 2013 earnings. It also moved him from No. 6 to No. 4 in the world. He trails only Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald.
He has put a number of disappointing tournament finishes behind him – tournaments in which he had leads on the final round, only to find a way to lose. The tears, the heartaches, the oh, so close losses made him stronger between the ears. It has been a learning process for Snedeker. At professional golf's top echelon, one needs to be mentally tough in order to learn how to win.
Married with two young children, the 32-year-old Snedeker wore a smile for all four rounds at Pebble Beach. Why not? He had two consecutive runner-up finishes. He is now 82-under par for 2013. Today he is the first player since 1990 to follow two consecutive runner-up finishes with a win.
“The last four months have been crazy,'' Snedeker said in a post-tournament interview. “To finish the West Coast [tournaments] off this way. … Pebble Beach is such a special place and playing with a good friend of mine from Nashville, Tennessee. You just can't make this stuff up. It's too perfect.''
Snedeker was surrounded with family and friends on and off the course. His pro-am partner was Nashville businessman Toby Wilt and they finished tied for first in the pro-am at 31-under. Wilt is a Vanderbilt graduate and played football and golf there. Snedeker was the first student to go through Vanderbilt on a Toby Wilt endowed golf scholarship.
Snedeker's wife, Mandy, whom he met at Vanderbilt, greeted him on the 18th green with their daughter Lily on one hip and their infant son in her arms.
Earlier in the week, Snedeker played with pro Luke List, another Vanderbilt golf team graduate, and Vanderbilt alumnae Heidi Ueberroth.
Brandt Snedeker is in a perfect place. His father, former Metro city attorney Larry Snedeker, has recovered from a liver transplant needed to beat cancer.
Snedeker deserves it. He faced the disappointments like a man. He didn't run from them. He didn't blame anyone. He just kept working and kept believing in himself. He knew what he was capable of.
Last season proved to be his breakout year on Tour. He changed drivers with great success. He concentrated on playing sound golf tee to green. Once he reaches a green, don't bet against him making any putt from any range.
The TV analysts rattled on and on Sunday about his putting prowess. When he dropped his second shot within four feet of the pin on the par-5 No. 2 hole for an eagle, Snedeker sensed it would be his day.
He built a 3-shot lead and was up by two with three holes to play. A birdie putt on the difficult par-3, 17th hole left runner-up Chris Kirk two shots back.
It was his second win in his last six starts, dating back to the 2012 Tour Championship at Atlanta's East Lake. It wrapped up the FedEx championship for him. A spot on his first Ryder Cup team also helped kick-start this season for the mop-haired Huckleberry Finn character with a disarming smile on his face 24/7.
None other than eternal pessimist TV analyst Johnny Miller predicted earlier last week that Snedeker is now ready to play and win against the best in the world.
Winning a major is Snedeker's next goal to achieve. He has the right stuff.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.