Playing out of the final threesome, World No. 138 Kevin Tway birdied his final two holes en route to 1-under-par 36-35=71 in Sunday's final round at Silverado Resort to match overnight leader and playing competitor Brandt Snedeker (74) and Ryan Moore (67) on 14-under 274, and then won with birdie on the third hole of sudden death, the par-4 10th, improving to 1-0 in extra time.
The 30-year-old, a pre-tourney 45/1 outright, claims his first PGA TOUR title in 91 events (90 pro). His previous best was 3rd place two times, both in 2017 and in back-to-back starts: Zurich Classic (teamed with Kelly Kraft); T3 Valero Texas Open.
The Oklahoma State product, a two-time Web.com Tour grad (2013, 2016), finished 87th in the FedExCup standings last season with three top 10s in 31 starts – no podiums – and exited the Playoffs after two events (T43, Dell Technologies Championship). Dating to last season, he’s now made nine straight cuts, which ranks T5 on TOUR.
With the win, he joins dad Bob in the winner’s circle, who won eight times in 683 events, and they become the 10th father/son duo to win on TOUR. Among a host of goodies, including a two-year exemption, he earns his first Masters invite.
The Jupiter, Florida, resident collects 500 FEC points to sit atop the FEC standings for the first time, and leaps 53 places to a career-high 85th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):
P1- (-14, 274) Kevin Tway (45/1)
P2- (-14, 274) Ryan Moore (20/1)
P2- (-14, 274) Brandt Snedeker (18/1)
T4- (-13, 275) Luke List (40/1)
T4- (-13, 275) Troy Merritt (100/1)
T4- (-13, 275) Sam Ryder (110/1)
T4- (-13, 275) Aaron Baddeley (125/1)
T4- (-13, 275) Sungjae Im (55/1)
After kicking off with 68-67-68, Tway began in solo 2nd, three back. He hit six (of 14) fairways and 10 greens in regulation, gaining 0.756 strokes off-the-tee, 1.233 approaching and 0.768 around-the-green, taking 29 total putts.
As has been the case in most Safeway’s at Silverado, the race to the finish is often frenzied with two reachable par 5s at 16 and 18, and a less-than-400-yard par-4 17th.
For most of the day, a windy one similar to last season’s finale, the focus was primarily on a hard-charging Moore – out of the 5th-to-last threesome, and second- and third-round leader Snedeker, who looked to be cruising to his 10th TOUR title.
Tway went out in even-par (2 bogeys, 2 birdies), now T2 (with Baddeley) and four back of Snedeker, who played his first nine holes in 1-under (1 bogey, 2 birdies). Moore, who began T9, seven adrift, bogeyed the first and after pars at 2-4, was eight back.
Tway appeared to be out of it after his third bogey of the round at 11, missing a par-saver from 4’3”, but Snedeker had started to leak oil, beginning with a missed birdie from 9’1” at the par-5 ninth, the third-easiest hole on the course.
Sneds, who had converted his last 54-hole lead at the 2018 regular-season-ending Wyndham, turning a 1-shot overnight lead into a 3-shot victory, squared the first of three straight bogeys at the par-4 10th after a badly pulled second from the fairway (105 yards away), missing the target by 38 yards.
Sneds pulled his tee shot to the shorty par-3 11th, failing to get up and down, and then at the par-4 12th, again from the fairway (127 yards away), came up short and left in a greenside bunker, leading to his third straight failed scramble, fourth if you count not getting up and down for birdie at the par-5 ninth.
In his next five holes, not counting the par-3 15th, he missed every fairway, but conjured a third birdie of the round at the par-5 16th, now one clear of clubhouse leader Moore, who played his final 17 holes in blemish-free 6-under, including three circles in his last four.
Sneds immediately gave that stroke back at 17, missing the fairway after laying up off the tee with an iron, and hit a tree with his second. Needing birdie now at the par-5 18th to win, he drove into a fairway bunker, laid up into the rough, and missed birdie from 48’10”. About 15 minutes later, he was eliminated from the playoff after failing to birdie the 18th (again), the 2nd-easiest hole on the course. Of Sneds’ nine career TOUR wins, two have come as the outright 54-hole leader, each time where he led by one. Somehow, this time, he squandered a 3-shot lead at the beginning, which had grown to five at one point.
Tway quietly parred holes 12-16, including a 5’2” par-saver at 12, and was three back with three to play. He birdied 17 (from 12’2”), versus Sneds’ bogey, two-putted from 40’8” for birdie at the last, and birdied all three holes in extra time, including the winner from 9'6". Five consecutive circles after being 1-over thru 16 holes. Wow.
Moore, who led the field in Driving Accuracy at 67.86 percent (38/56), matched Tway’s birdie-4s at 18-18 but drove into the rough at 10 and came up short of the green with his second and short with a birdie try (with the flat stick) from 27’1” away.
Both Snedeker and Moore settle for their eighth career runner-up finish.
*Note: Snedeker was attempting to become the first player in the FEC era (since 2007) to win the regular-season-ending Wyndham and the season-opening Safeway. Moore’s most recent (of five) TOUR titles came 52 starts ago at the 2016 John Deere (as 54-hole leader).
The last six winners on TOUR (reverse order): Brandt Snedeker (Wyndham); Bryson DeChambeau (The NT); Bryson DeChambeau (Dell Tech); Keegan Bradley (BMW); Tiger Woods (TOUR Championship); Kevin Tway (Safeway)
Sungjae Im: The South Korean finished T4 (66-69-69-71) and was top rookie (of 21) and top debutant (of 30). For the week, the 20-year-old, No. 1 on the Web.com Tour priority list, totaled 21 birdies (T3) against eight bogeys (T21) and played in the final threesome in R4.
Aaron Baddeley: The Aussie, playing on conditional status for a second straight season, finished T4 (70-67-69-69) as an open-qualifier. For the week, he totaled one eagle (T9) and 16 birdies (T30) versus five bogeys (T2). The Scottsdale resident was No. 1 in GIR at 81.94 percent (59/72), SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green.
Brendan Steele: Going for a 3-peat at the Safeway, the Californian finished T53 on 3-under 285 (67-71-72-75), 11 back. In his previous four visits, which resulted in four straight top 25s, he was a cumulative 50-under-par, including winning totals of 15-under (2018) and 18-under (2017).
Tway at the Safeway:
Cuts Made: 4
Top 25s: 1
Top 10s: 1
Form: P1-52-62 (Silverado); 40-MC (CordeValle GC)
*Note: Tway was T21 last year thru 54 holes (68-72-68) before cratering to T52 with a closing 77 (1 birdie, 4 bogeys, 1 double), also in windy conditions, for a -3.307 SG: Total. This time, his closing 71 was +1.743
Starts: 91 (90 pro)
Cuts Made: 55 (60.4%)
Top 25s: 13 (14.2%)
Top 10s: 7 (7.6%)
Top 3s: 3 (3.2%)
Wins: 1 (1.09%)
TOUR Wins by Season:
2018: 0 (31 starts)
2017: 0 (27 starts)
2016: 0 (played on Web.com)
2015: 0 (played on Web.com)
2014: 0 (rookie season; finished 177th in FedExCup on 23 starts)
*Note: Tway had one win in 75 events on the Web.com, a P1 at the 2013 Albertsons Boise Open (over Spencer Levin) in his only sudden-death appearance. Coincidentally, Albertsons owns Safeway.
For the week, Tway tallied 19 birdies versus five bogeys. He ranked T1 in Scrambling and No Doubles or Worse, and 3rd in SG: Tee-to-Green and the All-Around. See his strokes gained stats below and his full stats at the bottom.
Leaders in Strokes Gained Stats:
1. Cameron Champ (6.418)
2. Luke List (5.863)
3. Alex Prugh (5.512)
4. Martin Trainer (5.409)
5. Brendan Steele (4.267)
19. Kevin Tway (2.547)
1. Aaron Baddeley (9.666)
2. Adam Svensson (8.150)
3. Emiliano Grillo (6.147)
4. Kevin Streelman (5.919)
5. Sam Ryder (5.677)
22. Kevin Tway (1.978)
1. Bill Haas (7.008)
2. Harold Varner III (5.312)
3. Troy Merritt (4.518)
4. Bud Cauley (4.223)
5. J.B. Holmes (4.079)
7. Kevin Tway (3.865)
1. Julian Etulain (8.542)
2. Brandt Snedeker (6.656)
3. Sepp Straka (6.560)
4. Peter Malnati (5.989)
4. Sungjae Im (5.989)
18. Kevin Tway (3.038)
1. Aaron Baddeley (11.248)
2. Bill Haas (8.468)
3. Kevin Tway (8.392)
4. Luke List (7.604)
5. Lucas Glover (7.280)
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 12th playing of the Safeway, 5th and 5th straight at Silverado Resort:
Scorecard Yardage: 7,166
Par: 72 (36-36)
Cumulative scoring averages:
Tway: 68-67-68-71 for 11.429 SG: Total
Moore: 67-67-73-67 for 11.429 SG: Total
Snedeker: 66-65-69-74 for 11.429 SG: Total
*Note: Sunny skies for all four rounds but R4 saw a N wind 15-25 mph, gusting to 36.
Tway’s Position by Round:
R1: T22 (5 back)
R2: T5 (4 back)
R3: 2nd (3 back)
FUN FACT: Tway led/co-led three times after any round last season in 31 events (104 rounds). They all came in his last five starts of the season. He led the RBC Canadian Open after R2 and co-led after R3 (finished T17), and was a R1 co-leader at THE NORTHERN TRUST (first Playoffs event) before finishing T56.
FUN FACT: Tway is the fourth straight come-from-behind winner at the Safeway, sixth in the last seven.
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Sepp Straka (finished T46): 0-for-1 as 18-hole leader/co-leader
R2: Brandt Snedeker (finished P2): 3-for-11 as 36-hole leader/co-leader
R3: Brandt Snedeker (finished P2): 4-for-11 as 54-hole leader/co-leader
R4: Kevin Tway (P1): Playoff Record: 1-0
R4: Ryan Moore (P2): Playoff Record: 2-3
R4: Brandt Snedeker (P2): Playoff Record: 2-2
*Note: Moore’s last playoff was a loss at the 2016 TOUR Championship. Snedeker’s last playoff was a loss at the 2016 Sony.
*Note: Snedeker is first player to cough up a 3-shot lead thru 54 holes since Jordan Spieth at THE NORTHERN TRUST in 2017, who shot 1-under 69 and then lost in a playoff (to D. Johnson).
*Note: Last season, four players held 3-shot leads thru 54 holes and all four converted, most recently Tiger Woods at the TOUR Championship.
R1: 63: Sepp Straka; TOUR debut
R2: 61: Ricky Barnes*; career low
*Barnes: ties course and tourney record
R1: (14): Sepp Straka (63); Chase Wright (64); Phil Mickelson (65); J.T. Poston (66); Mackenzie Hughes (66); Sam Saunders (66); Sungjae Im (66); Wyndham Clark (66); Jonathan Byrd (67); Roger Sloan (67); Troy Merritt (67); Julian Etulain (68); James Hahn (68); Kramer Hickok (69)
R2: (11): Ricky Barnes (61); Harris English (65); Michael Thompson (65); J.J. Spaun (66); Johnson Wagner (67); Nick Taylor (67); Bill Haas (68); Andres Gonzales (68_MC); Jamie Lovemark (68_MC); Tyrone Van Aswegen (69); Harold Varner III (69)
Multiple Bogey-Free Rounds: None
A total of 86 pros from a field of 144 pros made the 36-hole cut of 3-under 141:
51 (of 72) EARLY/late
35 (of 72) LATE/early
74 players made the secondary 54-hole cut of 3-under 213
13 players finished in the top 10:
*Note: EARLY/late was easily the better part of the draw as far as making the 36-hole cut, but LATE/early ruled as far as top-10 finishes.
Odds Favorite(s) Outright:
Dating to the beginning of the 2016-17 season (142 events), the pre-tourney fave/co-fave has won 10 times.
47 (non-team) tournaments
4 pre-tourney fave/co-faves won:
Dustin Johnson: 11/2 (Canadian Open)
Dustin Johnson: 6/1 (St. Jude)
Jon Rahm: 8/1 (CareerBuilder)
Justin Thomas: 15/2 (CJ CUP)
Patrick Cantlay: making his third overall appearance, first at Silverado and first since T47 in 2012, the California native was the pre-tourney 11/1 fave outright and at No. 23 in OWGR was the top-ranked player in the field. He finished T17 on 8-under 280 (69-68-73-70), six adrift.
Tway’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 74 players):
Birdies: 19 (T9)
Bogeys: 5 (T2)
Double Bogeys: 0 (T1)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.94 (T6)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.88 (T8)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.50 (T19)
Driving Distance (all drives): 298.0 yards (8th)
Driving Accuracy: 29/56 (T40) at 51.79%
GIR: 52/72 (T18) at 72.22%
Proximity to Hole: 36’3” (49th)
Putts per GIR: 1.731 (T22)
Total Putts: 112 (T15)
Putts by Round: 28-29-26-29
Scrambling: 16/20 (T1) at 80.00%
All Around: 3rd