Sunday, 23 September 2012
Brandt Snedeker   (Getty Images)
Brandt Snedeker (Getty Images)
American Brandt Snedeker heads into his Ryder Cup debut an incredible €7,500,000 richer after denying Rory McIlroy the FedEx Cup in Atlanta - even though the World Number One earned over €2,500,000.

After 11 successive rounds in the 60s Northern Ireland's 23 year old superstar closed the Tour Championship with a 74 and so missed out on the FedEx Cup bonus.

Snedeker took that and the tournament first prize by three strokes from England's Justin Rose - the perfect confidence-booster before he moves on to Chicago to face Europe.

McIlroy had won the two previous play-off events and so took a points lead into the showdown, but the system was such that fifth-placed Snedeker knew if he won at East Lake he grabbed golf's biggest jackpot.

Joint overnight leader with Rose, the 31 year old from Nashville had a nasty moment when he went in the lake on the dangerous short sixth and double-bogeyed, but McIlroy had done the same moments before.Snedeker, one of the game's best putters, came back by holing from nearly 40 feet at the eighth and 18 feet on the 13th.

Still there was work to be done as Moore caught him with birdies of his own at the 14th and 15th, but Snedeker matched the second of those as Moore bogeyed the next and the issue was effectively settled when he chipped in at the 17th.

Rose, meanwhile, had also birdied the 15th and took second place after Moore dropped two more shots at the end and he made a 14 footer for par on the last.

Snedeker hit his tee shot into the grandstand there, but it was the best bogey of his life.

McIlroy finished the week in a share of tenth place, still good enough to make him second in the final play-off standings - Tiger Woods could have denied him that, but shot 72.

All European fans will be hoping he is back to his best by Friday after a round which included not only the double bogey, but also four bogeys.

Among those who came past him was teammate Luke Donald, a second successive 67 lifting the former World Number One into joint third with Moore, four behind Snedeker.

Lee Westwood had long since departed by then, a 74 leaving him last of the 30-strong field on 15 over, but still with something to smile about as he won a match against playing partner Nick Watney.

"There was enough on it to keep it interesting and hopefully a sign of things to come," he said. "It's my first time in the play-offs and Bethpage was the only course I'd played before. My game is not far away."

Donald said: "I've just been really close and it's nice to finally string a couple of good rounds together.

"I came up a little bit short for this week, but it was a good effort.

"I'm looking forward to this week. One, it's the Ryder Cup and some of my best moments in golf have been during that event, and obviously being in Chicago, the place I've lived the last 15 years."

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