Brandt Snedeker serves up stellar final round

Snedeker posts round of the day at Torrey Pines (0:40)

With sideways rain amid blustery conditions, Brandt Snedeker said his 3-under-par 69 was one of his best ever on the PGA Tour in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. (0:40)

SAN DIEGO -- Winter arrived with a vengeance Sunday in Southern California, and while it wasn't exactly Lambeau Field in January, it was about as brutal as it gets in golf.

Gusting winds, sideways rain, cold temperatures and generally miserable conditions greeted players for the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. It was a storm all knew was coming, but one that arrived earlier than expected and led to two morning stoppages of play and a third in the afternoon.

Brandt Snedeker was rooting for his peers to get back on the course. When he finished just before the third suspension, he had the clubhouse lead at 6 under par, with only Jimmy Walker ahead of him at 7 under.

Walker had eight holes to go, and with treacherous weather all but certain, Snedeker's chances looked better and better after he shot a 3-under-par 69. He was the only player under par at any point of the final round.

"I couldn't do it again,'' Snedeker said afterward. "I don't know how I did it. It was one of those fluke days.''

It certainly was for Torrey Pines, typically an idyllic spot on the golf calendar, with picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, hang gliders and people walking the beach.

This was a day to stay inside, and Snedeker's effort was remarkable given the difficulty.

After a bogey at the opening hole -- prior to the first delay -- Snedeker rattled off eight straight pars before birdieing four of the first five holes on the back nine. He made four pars coming in, figuring he needed to get at least one more birdie to possibly win.

Snedeker's 69 was at least 3 strokes better than all but two golfers who were still playing their rounds when the third and final suspension of the day came. At that point, the scoring average for the rest of the field was 78.1. And they were a combined 377 over par.

"It's like playing a British Open on a U.S. Open setup,'' Snedeker said. "This course is so tough, it's blowing 25 miles an hour, gusting out there and windy and rainy conditions. It's really tough.

"I wish I could say why I shot what I shot today. It was one of those days where you throw everything out of your mind and go play golf and grind as best as you possibly can.''

Snedeker, 35, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, perhaps shouldn't be so surprised by his strong play. He bounced back from three missed cuts at the end of 2015 -- including shooting an 84 during the first round of the Australian PGA Championship -- to tie for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He also finish second at the Sony Open, where he lost in a sudden-death playoff to Fabian Gomez two weeks ago.

"He looks like he's confident,'' cracked his longtime caddie, Scott Vail, who missed those first two tournaments of the year while recovering from foot surgery. "I watched him on TV and he looked pretty good those two weeks.

"He just did everything well today. He hit a lot of fairways. Made some putts and some great par saves. It was damn good.''

It was Walker on Saturday who said "the apocalypse is coming'' in regard to the weather, and he was not far off.

Snedeker was 6 shots back of 54-hole leaders Scott Brown and K.J. Choi when he teed off and he actually welcomed the foul weather.

"I thought that this was the best conditions I could possibly have to have a chance to win the golf tournament,'' he said. "You need a day like today where the weather was awful and you shoot something good and can get back in it.

"Luckily, my attitude was fantastic all day. I was excited about being there all day. I wasn't playing great and I found something there midway through the round, hit some great shots and made a couple putts around the turn that got me going.

"It was just one of those special days that I don't think I could go out there and re-create it and do it again. But I'm glad I did it.''