Stadler Reels in Win No 3

By Sports NetworkOctober 19, 2003, 4:00 pm
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Craig Stadler cruised to a 4-under 67 Sunday to win the SBC Championship by four strokes over Bob Gilder. Stadler finished the event with a tournament-record score of 15-under-par 198.
 
Gilder closed with a 2-under 69 to end up at 11-under-par 202. Allen Doyle finished two strokes further back at minus-9 thanks to a final round 5-under 66.
 
Stadler was quoted earlier in the season as saying he wanted to win fast once on the Champions Tour.
 
'I wouldn't have said a word the first five months this year I was playing so bad,' said Stadler. 'Things have obviously changed and today was a perfect example. I didn't hit the ball that well today, but made a few putts at the right time. I kind of just hung in there. It certainly wasn't pretty.'
 
Stadler, who matched the course record Saturday with a 7-under 64, put things out of reach quickly on Sunday. Gilder briefly moved within one stroke with a birdie at the second, but Stadler quickly answered.
 
Stadler birdied the third to regain a two-shot advantage. He stretched it to three shots when he birdied the par-5 fifth and his lead grew to four when Gilder bogeyed the par-4 seventh.
 
The 50-year-old Stadler saw his lead drop back to three when Gilder birdied the eighth. Stadler extended the margin to five shots with an eagle from 18 feet out at the 10th.
 
Stadler, who won the Senior Players Championship and the Greater Hickory Classic earlier this year, saw his lead grow to six shots when Gilder bogeyed the 11th.
 
Gilder tried to make things interesting down the stretch at Oak Hills Country Club. He birdied the par-4 14th to move back within five shots. Stadler birdied the next though to make it a six-shot advantage.
 
Gilder rolled in a lengthy birdie putt on the 16th before Stadler bogeyed the 17th as they headed to the last hole with Stadler up four strokes. Gilder, however, pulled his tee shot left and was unable to put pressure on Stadler.
 
Stadler dropped his tee ball on the green and two-putted for the victory.
Stadler said the difference in his season came at the Senior PGA Championship at Aronimink, his first event on the Champions Tour.
 
'I think Aronimink really helped me,' said Stadler, who picked up $225,00 for the win. 'It was my first week out once I got on the Champions Tour and it was a good, hard, long golf course. I played very well all week in the tough conditions. That was the first time I put more than two decent rounds together since August 2002.'
 
Gilder mixed two birdies and a bogey over his opening nine, while also doing the same on the back side.
 
Tom Watson, who nearly aced the par-3 18th, closed with a 2-under 69. He shared fourth place at 8-under-par 205 with Walter Hall (69), Hale Irwin (67), Fuzzy Zoeller (68) and Tom Kite (67).
 
Dana Quigley, the 2002 champion, closed with a 4-under 67. He shared 22nd place at 3-under-par 210.
 
Related Links:
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.