Every golfer dreams about iconic Pebble Beach. Having a chance to win a PGA Tour event there is another story.
Alameda native and PGA Tour rookie James Hahn just couldn’t keep up with the rigorous birdie pace set by his playing partner Brandt Snedeker in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Hahn’s 2-under par 70 was good enough for a third place tie. Snedeker’s final round 65, which included six birdies and an eagle, left him on the 18th green two shots clear of the field.
“I definitely didn’t want to do anything but win today,” said Snedeker, who finished runner-up the past two weeks. “I was out there for one purpose and one purpose only, and I was extremely focused all day. I did a great job of staying patient and I did a great job of playing the golf course the way you’re supposed to play it.”
Hahn’s final round 70 turned out to be his career low at Pebble Beach. The 31-year-old who used to sell women’s shoes at Nordstrom earned $338,000, the largest check of his professional career.
“This week was the best tournament I’ve had so far,” said Hahn. “But being so close to winning a golf tournament, playing in the final group, it’s a little bittersweet.”
Snedeker, the reining FedEx Cup Champion liked what he saw from the rookie Hahn.
“James is a great kid. He’s got a ton of talent. I know it’s a difficult situation for him to be in the last group for the first time like this and how to handle the emotions and everything that’s going on and I thought he played pretty well. He handled himself very well out there today.”
For Hahn, this was only his 5th PGA Tour start in 2013. The rookie’s previous best finish was a T4 at Humana, where he closed with a final round 62. Last week he finished T16 in Phoenix, where he famously Gangnam Style danced in front of the raucous crowd at the TPC’s 16th
after holding a 20-foot birdie putt. Even though Hahn isn’t hoisting any crystal like Snedeker, he was able to take several positives from his playing partner on Sunday.
“I learned that he is a better guy than he is golfer,” Hahn said of Snedeker. “The dude is world class. How he conducts himself on and off the golf course, that’s also world class. He’s a great role model and just an unbelievable golfer and he deserved to win today.”
A decade ago, Hahn was teaching junior golf camps less than a mile from Pebble Beach’s famed 18th green. He dreamed of one day playing golf on the world’s biggest stage, at the game’s grandest venue. For Hahn, his dream almost came true in front of the people who love him the most.
“I had a lot of family and friends out there today. It was fun being in the lead group and everybody cheering for me and I definitely want to do it again.”