Kevin Stadler wins Phoenix Open
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — Kevin Stadler won the Phoenix Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title when playing partner Bubba Watson missed a 5-footer for par on the final hole.
“It was a little weird way to win a golf tournament,” Stadler said. “I fully expected him to make the putt. I would have rather made mine to win it.”
Stadler, the 33-year-old son of PGA Tour winner Craig Stadler, closed with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Watson and Canadian Graham DeLaet.
Stadler won in his 239th PGA Tour start, earning a spot in the Masters — a tournament his father won in 1982. The Stadlers are the ninth father-son winners in tour history.
Stadler finished at 16-under 268 at TPC Scottsdale, his home course. Raised in Colorado, he played in Denver Broncos colors, wearing an orange shirt and blue pants and hat.
Watson shot a 71, and DeLaet had a 65.
“He beat me,” Watson said. “He’s a great player.”
After Stadler and Watson each saved par after hitting into the water on the par-5 15th, Stadler tied Watson for the lead with a par on the par-3 16th hole. Watson hit into the front left bunker on the stadium hole and his 6-footer for par slid by the left side.
They each two-putted for birdie from 90 feet — Watson holing out from 18 feet and Stadler from 5 — after driving the green on the 347-yard hole.
Stadler hit a 344-yard drive on the par-4 18th and hit his 110-yard approach to the back right pin to 10 feet. Watson hit a 342-yard drive into the right rough and hammered his second from 120 yards over the green and into the spectators seated on a hill.
Watson bladed his shot from the trampled rough into the bank next to the green and it ran 5 feet past the hole. After Stadler missed his birdie try and tapped in for par, Watson’s par try slid by the left side to end the tournament.
Stadler likely will move up high enough in the world ranking to get one of the last spots in the 64-man Match Play Championship this month outside Tucson.
Stadler’s previous biggest win was in Australia in the European Tour’s 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic. In that event, he hit a 3-iron to a foot for an eagle on the final hole for a two-stroke victory. He also won the Argentine Open that winter and has four Nationwide Tour wins.
“It’s been a long time since I won anything,” Stadler said. “It’s pretty special.”
Watson, the third-round leader, is winless since the 2012 Masters.
“I was a challenging day,” Watson said. “Again, it’s the same thing, just waiting on every tee box and waiting on every shot.”
Hunter Mahan and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama tied for fourth at 14 under. Mahan, the 2010 winner, finished with a 68, and Matsuyama shot 69.
Charles Howell III had a 65 to join Brendan Steele (69) and Ryan Moore (70) at 13 under.
Phil Mickelson closed with a 71 to tie for 42nd at 3 under. Lefty was making his 25th appearance in the event he won in 1996, 2005 and 2013.
He showed no signs of the back pain that forced him to withdraw last week at Torrey Pines, and will play next week at Pebble Beach.
The event drew an estimated 563,008 fans, breaking the seven-day record of record of 538,356 set in 2008. The tournament set records the last five days, drawing a golf-record 189,722 on Saturday and 60,232 on Sunday.