MARTY JAMES firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday began with a 9 a.m. weather forecast from the PGA Tour for the final round of the $6.4 million Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa.
It was not very pretty: “A high wind event is forecast for Napa County today. Peak wind gusts of 25-30 mph are possible here at the golf course today, but don’t expect the winds to be consistent. Swirling winds and changing speeds/directions are not uncommon at this location due to the surrounding terrain. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity are forecast this afternoon.”
The winds blew hard for most of the day, with gusts reaching up to 36 mph and the temperature rising to a high of 84, and most of the scores were on the high side, as the conditions were tough just about everywhere on the North Course.
The long day ended in the fading sunlight, at 6:32 p.m., with a playoff that was decided on the third hole. With sunset at 6:42 p.m. fast approaching, Kevin Tway won it by making a birdie putt from 10 feet that moved right to left and beat Ryan Moore on the par-4, 10th hole.
It was Tway’s first PGA Tour win. He went birdie, birdie, birdie in the playoff. He is the son of Bob Tway, an eight-time winner on Tour. Bob Tway won the PGA Championship in 1986.
Tway was fantastic late in the day, making birdies on his final five holes, including the playoff holes. He and his dad become the 10th father-son duo to win on the PGA Tour.
He receives $1,152,000 and also gets 500 FedExCup points. He gets an exemption to the Masters and a spot into the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Maui next year.
“It was nice to get hot at the end,” said Tway. “I wasn’t really in it on the front nine. Brandt (Snedeker) made a couple bogeys starting the back. I was kind of right there, but kind of hanging around. I birdied 17, 18 to get into the playoff and then kept it going in the playoff and here I am.
“The golf course was hard enough. You kind of had a lot to think about to begin with. I was just trying to put the ball in the fairway, which was very difficult. I knew the last few holes were a little bit easier, so I tried to just keep making pars until then. And then I got hot at the end.”
The Safeway Open, presented by Chevron, is the first event of the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 wrap-around schedule that bridges two years. The tournament is part of the FedExCup schedule.
This is the third year of the Safeway Open, which is part of the PGA Tour’s 46-tournament schedule for 2018-19 that concludes with three FedExCup Playoff events. There are eight events in the fall.
Brandt Snedeker, who took a three-shot lead into the final round, and Moore and Tway were tied atop the leaderboard at the end of 72 holes of regulation at 14-under-par 274. Moore went low in the final round with a 67, Snedeker had a 74 and Tway shot 71.
They advanced to a playoff.
Moore and Tway moved on to the second hole of the playoff after each made birdie on No. 18. Moore’s birdie putt was from 5 feet, 7 inches. Tway’s birdie putt was from 7 feet. Snedeker missed his birdie putt from nine feet and was eliminated after he made par.
The second playoff hole was also on No. 18. They each made birdie after each hit the green in two.
On No. 10, the third playoff hole, Moore missed the fairway left on his drive and left his second shot just short of the green. He putted from the green and missed, the ball stopping just short of the hole.
Tway hit the fairway on his drive and knocked his approach from 123 yards on the green. It was only the seventh birdie on the 10th hole all day.
It was the second playoff in the past four years at Silverado.
Tway was rock-solid at the end, with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to finish the round to get into the playoff.
Tway reached No. 18 in two in the final round and got to 14-under by making birdie.
Moore birdied No. 18 to get to 14 under.
Snedeker got to 15-under with a birdie putt from 10 feet on No. 16. A bogey on the 17th hole dropped him back a shot. He had a chance to win with a birdie putt from 49 feet on No. 18, the putt falling just short of the hole.
The day was a combination of sunny and breezy and sunny and windy – conditions that factored in the scoring. Workers spent the day blowing leaves off tees and greens.
Snedeker began the final round at 16-under, three in front of Tway.
Moore played very well in the final round, turning in one of the lowest rounds. Moore’s caddie is JJ Jakovac, a Napa native and Vintage High School graduate.
“On a day like today, it’s not necessarily about how you’re swinging, how you’re hitting it. It’s how you can just get the ball in the hole. Somehow I managed to do that today,” said Moore. “It wasn’t the start I wanted, but knew it was going to be a tough day. I just kind of told myself be patient, don’t worry about it too much and let’s grind out some pars early. I was able to just put together a really scrappy round of golf really.”
The par-72 course played shorter on Sunday. The par-3 holes played 163 yards shorter, as the tees were moved up.
Snedeker, who is seeking his 10th career win, struggled with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 10, 11 and 12, dropping his score to 14-under.
“It’s really disappointing,” said Snedeker, who had as much as a five-shot lead in the final round. “I played a really good front nine in tough conditions and made the turn on the back nine and actually drove the ball really well. I had a lot of opportunities. Just hit some really poor iron shots, left myself in places you can’t do it. Didn’t make any putts. It’s done and I didn’t do it. It’s disappointing and it sucks right now. I played probably 63 holes of pretty damn good golf and nine holes I wish I had back.”
Luke List (67), Troy Merritt (68), Sam Ryder (69), Aaron Baddeley (69) and Sungjae Im (71) tied at 13-under.
* The field was reduced from 86 to 74 players following Saturday’s 54-hole third-round cut.
* Two-time defending Safeway Open champion Brendan Steele tied for 53rd. Steele won here in 2016 and 2017.
* Friday’s attendance was announced at 20,000. Saturday’s attendance was announced at 25,000. Sunday’s attendance was 20,000. The attendance for the week was 82,500.