Former Trojan Kevin Stadler Wins Johnnie Walker Classic In Australia
Feb. 13, 2006
(FROM AP REPORTS) Former Trojan All-American and 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year Kevin Stadler posted the biggest victory in his young professional career when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Vines in Western Australia, on Sunday (Feb. 12).
Stadler shot a closing 3-under-par 69, including an eagle on 18 from 200 yards out, to finish 20 under for the tournament, edging out Australian Nick O'Hern by two shots.
The 26-year-old teed off on the par-five 18th needing a birdie to win the event and a brilliant second shot to the green left Stadlery a simple one-foot putt to claim the biggest title of his career.
'That was the best shot I hit all week as I knew I had to make at least four but thankfully I didn't have to worry about the putt,' Stadler told reporters after eagling the last for the third day in a row. 'It was the perfect club to the perfect pin position.'
Stadler, the 26-year-old son of 1982 Masters champion and former Trojan as well Craig Stadler, had a 20-under 268 total on The Vines Resort's Lakes Course. He earned $365,340 for his first European Tour title in the event sanctioned by the European, Australasian and Asian tours.
Stadler won the Argentine Open in December after finishing 168th on the PGA Tour money list last year and losing his tour card. He also won two Nationwide Tour events in 2004.
Now Stadler is faced with a choice of where to play this year because the victory earned him a full exemption on the European Tour.
'I am honestly baffled by this win,' he added. 'It's been a good week and except for those three holes in the middle today, it's been just fantastic. It was my intention this year just to play the Nationwide Tour and get my PGA Tour card back but now I have no idea what I will do.
'I just wanted to come down to Australia and get some golf under my belt in readiness for the two Nationwide events next week in Adelaide and then in New Zealand.'
Stadler got off to fast start with birdies on Nos. 1-3, but dropped three strokes with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 5-7. The former Southern California star pulled ahead with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 and had seven straight pars before making an eagle on the 18th for the third consecutive day.
Stadler shared the lead on the opening day and stayed near the top of the leaderboard while Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Colin Montgomerie missed the cut. Defending champion Adam Scott and American Fred Couples faltered as Stadler stood firm.