PEBBLE BEACH, California (AFP) - Brandt Snedeker ended a near 20-month victory drought in emphatic style on Sunday with a record-setting triumph in golf's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Snedeker, the 2013 winner of the US$6.8 million US PGA Tour event, had five birdies in a flawless five-under par 67 for a 22-under par total of 265 and a three-stroke win over Nick Watney.
He broke his own record 72-hole total of 267 set in 2013.
"It feels awesome," said Snedeker, who had fallen to 63rd in the world and with the win secured his berth in the first major of the year, April's Masters at Augusta National.
"I'm emotional right now," the 34-year-old said. "It's been a long time since I felt this feeling and it's really special."
The 2012 FedEx Cup play-offs winner endured a lean year in 2014, when he notched just three top-10 finishes on the US Tour as he battled injury and troubles with his short game.
Sunday's win was his first since the 2013 Canadian Open.
Watney fired a three-under 69 for 268. Charlie Beljan was a further shot back on 269 after a final-round 66.
Australia's Jason Day, who won last week's tournament at Torrey Pines in a play-off, shook off illness during the week to finished tied for fourth with Americans Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez.
Third-round leader Jim Furyk, who has not won since 2010, struggled on his way to a two-over 74 and finished in a tie for seventh.
The 44-year-old has now failed to win the last nine times he has held a 54-hole lead.
Snedeker went into the final round one shot off Furyk's lead and tied with Australian Matt Jones.
Watney, a further shot back after 54 holes, opened with four straight birdies to take the lead, but stumbled to a bogey at five and six.
Snedeker was making steady progress with birdies at three, five and seven, while Furyk's challenge crumbled with two bogeys on the front nine.
He kept the momentum with an eight-foot birdie at the 11th and gained more breathing room when Watney bogeyed 13 and 14 to fall four adrift.
Snedeker's fifth and final birdie of the day was a 10-footer at the 15th, which gave him a five-shot lead, which was trimmed by Watney with back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18.
"It was a great day," Snedeker said.
"I didn't play perfectly, but I fought really well... I'm just so thankful that this week is over now. It was stressful."