Kevin Stadler wins Phoenix Open as Bubba Watson falters

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Smallrus finally hoisted a big PGA Tour trophy.

Kevin Stadler won the Phoenix Open to earn a Masters Tournament berth. He is the son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler.  ROSS D. FRANKLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROSS D. FRANKLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Kevin Stadler won the Phoenix Open to earn a Masters Tournament berth. He is the son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler.

Kevin Stadler, the 33-year-old son of major champion Craig “The Walrus” Stadler, won the Phoenix Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory.

Stadler won when playing partner Bubba Watson missed a 5-foot par putt on 18.

“I 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 closed with 3-under-par 68 for a one-stroke victory over Watson and Graham DeLaet. Watson shot 71, and DeLaet had 65.

“He beat me,” Watson said. “He’s a great player.”

Stadler won in his 239th tour start, earning a spot in the Masters Tournament – a tournament his father won in 1982. The Stadlers are the ninth father-son winners in tour history and will be the first to play in the same Masters.

“It’s going to great for me because it’s really my last one,” said Craig Stadler, a 13-time PGA Tour winner with nine Champions Tour victories. “I kept saying, ‘When he gets in, that’s my last one.’ ... I’m proud of him. It’s awesome.”

Kevin 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.

What was he thinking when Watson was standing over his par putt on 18?

“How long the playoff was going to take and how long until I can watch the football game?” Stadler said.

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 missed to the left.

At the 347-yard 17th, they each drove the green and two-putted for birdie from 90 feet – Watson holing out from 18 feet and Stadler from 5.

On the par-4 18th, Stadler hit his 110-yard approach to the back right pin to 10 feet. Watson drove into the right rough and hammered his 120-yard second over the green.

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.

Watson is winless since the 2012 Masters.

“It was a challenging day,” Watson said. “Again, it’s the same thing, just waiting on every tee box and waiting on every shot.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Stephen Gallacher shot a final round 72 to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic title, beating Emiliano Grillo by one stroke.

Gallacher fought back after four bogeys over his opening eight holes left him in a five-way tie for the lead after 11 holes.

He won the 25-year-old tournament with an overall 16-under-par 272 for only his third victory in 18 years and 431 events on the European Tour.

Rory McIlroy struggled with 74 to finish tied for ninth, while top-ranked Tiger Woods (71) birdied his closing three holes for a share of 41st at 6-under 282.

The win puts Gallacher into the top 40 in the world, putting him in strong position to play the Masters for the first time in his career. The top 50 in the world at the end of March get into the Masters.

LOCAL INTEREST

CHARLES HOWELL Augusta native

Score/Finish 70-69-67-65/T6

 PATRICK REED Ex-Augusta State golfer

Score/Finish 67-67-71-72/T19

BRIAN GAY Louisville, Ga.*

Score/Finish 69-71-71-74/T61

* former resident


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