West Coast fan Snedeker sets sights on Phoenix

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 03, 2016 6:38 PM

(Reuters) - The PGA Tour's West Coast swing certainly agrees with Brandt Snedeker who turns his attention to this week's Phoenix Open in Arizona just days after winning the weather-hit Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

Four of Snedeker's eight career victories on the U.S. circuit have come in California and before he triumphed on Monday for a second time at Torrey Pines, he was edged out in a playoff for the Sony Open in Hawaii in his previous event.

"I love the greens, I love being out here," Snedeker, 35, told reporters about the West Coast swing while preparing for Thursday's opening round at the TPC Scottsdale.

"This time of year has always been huge. My (PGA Tour) career started at Torrey Pines, finishing third in my rookie year.

"I wish we could play all year out here only the West Coast because I absolutely play fantastic and I love being out here. It's been an unbelievable start to the year for me."

The fast-talking Snedeker, who won by one shot at Torrey Pines after carding a brilliant three-under-par 69 in the wind-swept final round, faces a strong field this week in Scottsdale where seven players in the world's top 20 will be competing.

Fourth-ranked American Rickie Fowler leads the way and will be looking to rebound from a missed cut at Torrey Pines after winning the previous week at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Championship.

"I always enjoy being back in the desert. I have had some good play here," Fowler said of the TPC Scottsdale. "It's always a week I look forward to.

"I've been playing well through the middle of last year into the fall (autumn), and I'm excited to continue that. Last week was a little hiccup along the way but I'm looking forward to picking back up where we left off in Abu Dhabi.

"Getting the win two weeks ago definitely put me in a little bit of a different mindset coming into this year than I have been pretty much all the years before then."

Brooks Koepka, the world number 17, is back to defend the Phoenix Open title he won last year by one stroke over fellow Americans Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer, and Japanese Hideki Matsuyama.

"Any time you can win, it's special, and if you're going back to those places, it's cool," said Koepka, 25, who tied for third at the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii last month.

"You're kind of reliving some of the shots you hit, and obviously you get a lot of positive memories.

"I have a lot of positive thoughts going into this week, and I feel good about where my game is at. I don't think I have ever felt better."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)