Kevin Stadler Wins Again
July 15, 2004
Husdson, Wisc. - The inaugural $475,000 Scholarship America Showdown lived up to its name last Sunday, featuring a dramatic final-round showdown and then a historic playoff between Kevin Stadler, Mathew Goggin, Chris Tidland and Kyle Thompson.
Stadler birdied the third playoff hole to notch his second victory on the Nationwide Tour in just his fourth career start, an all-time record. He won the Lake Erie Charity Classic just two weeks ago. Dick Mast held the previous record when he notched two wins in his first six career starts in 1990.
'It still hasn't sunk in from two weeks ago,' said Stadler. 'To win one was beyond my expectations, but to win two is beyond words. The last four weeks have been incredible to say the least.'
The 24-year-old Stadler needed a birdie on the final hole of regulation to join the Tour's record-breaking fourth straight playoff. A precise 8-iron to 8 feet and the resulting putt gave him a final-round 2-under-par 68, just enough to make a perfect foursome in extra holes.
'I knew I had to make birdie on the last hole of regulation,' said Stadler, who hit 13 of 18 greens and 11 of 13 fairways Sunday. 'Obviously I would have liked to win in regulation but standing on the 18th tee I was begging for a playoff.'
With the victory, the former USC standout takes home $85,500 and moves from No. 21 to No. 11 on the official money list with $167,715. In the process he moves a step closer to earning a spot in the Top 20 on the final money list and a coveted PGA TOUR card. He won't have to wait long to tee it up on TOUR, however, as he will play with his father and defending champion, Craig, at the B.C. Open this week via a sponsor's exemption. The victory also earns him a spot in the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee in two weeks.
'This is going to change everything golf-wise,' said Stadler, who joins Jimmy Walker and Brendan Jones in the exclusive list looking for their third win of the season and the Tour's Battlefield Promotion -- an immediate ticket to the PGA TOUR. 'It is just insane. I've been happy with my play since I turned pro but I just haven't finished well.'
Five players jockeyed back and forth for the lead throughout the day, including Jason Caron (68) who missed a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have made the playoff five players strong. Standing at 12-under going into No. 17, Goggin appeared poised to win but an ensuing bogey dropped him into the group at 11-under. He was the first player eliminated with a bogey on the first playoff hole.
'Today I missed a short putt on the last hole that ended up costing me the golf tournament,' said Goggin, who still managed his career-low round and the day's best with a 64.
Thompson (68), who earlier this week established a Troy Burne Golf Club course record with an 8-under-par 62, rallied with birdies on Nos. 14 & 16 but bogeyed the second playoff hole to fall just short of notching his first career win.
'I don't think anybody hit the ball any better than me this week,' said Thompson, who hit all 13 fairways in regulation Sunday. 'But I didn't make anything over 15 feet all week.'
Tidland moved to 12-under with a birdie on No. 11, but bogeys on Nos. 14 & 16 were enough to drop him out of the outright lead. He, too, fell just short when he was unable to match Stadler's birdie on the third playoff hole.
'It was a good week for all of us,' said Tidland. 'Kevin played well, Kyle played well and I played well. It was fun.'
The Nationwide Tour heads to Bridgeport next week for the inaugural Pete Dye West Virginia Classic, the 17th of 31 official events on this year's schedule.