Stadler wins maiden title in Phoenix by one shot

Sun Feb 2, 2014 7:00pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Burly American Kevin Stadler overhauled playing partner Bubba Watson, then survived a mix of the good, bad and ugly after the turn to win his first PGA Tour title by one shot at the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday.

Two strokes behind the pacesetting Watson overnight, Stadler birdied his first three holes before recovering from a double-bogey at the 11th on the way to a three-under-par 68 for a 16-under total of 268 at the TPC Scottsdale.

Stadler narrowly missed a birdie attempt from 10 feet at the par-four 18th, then watched nervously as Watson missed a five-footer for par that would have forced a playoff.

Watson, seeking his first PGA Tour victory since his breakthrough major win at the 2012 Masters, had to settle for a closing 71 and a share of second place at 15 under with Canadian Graham DeLaet (65).

Stadler expressed relief and delight after clinching his maiden title on the U.S. circuit on his 239th start, earning a spot at the Masters in April where he will compete along with his father Craig, a former champion at Augusta National.

"It wasn't pretty," Stadler, 33, told Golf Channel after a final round that included five birdies and his double at the par-four 11th. "I was walking all over the shop. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of kind of ugly shots but thankfully it all worked out.

"It feels fantastic. Obviously I would have liked to make that (birdie) putt there (on 18) and win that way but it's been a long time coming, so I'll take it any way I can get it."

NINTH FATHER-SON COMBINATION

Stadler and his father Craig, who won the 1982 Masters along with 12 other PGA Tour titles, became the ninth father-son combination to triumph on the U.S. circuit.   Continued...