The top money-winner on the Champions Tour will be playing in the SAS Championship Friday. But Monday he made six birdies in a nine-hole exhibition match at the Kraft/Nabisco Shoot-Out at Boise, Idaho. He was playing with his sox, Kevin, against a pair of LPGA standouts, Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park.
Stadler birdied four straight holes and had a putt for 28 on the par-35 back nine. He missed, then intentionally missed the comebacker to let the women win a skin.
'It was pretty impressive,' Kevin said of his dad's performance. 'I didn't have much to do out there other than watch him.'
Sorenstam had the hot hand early. The world's No. 1 women's golfer birdied the first two holes ' winning a pair of skins with a carry-over ' and lipped out a birdie putt on the third.
'I was really hot in the beginning,' Sorenstam said, 'but then I kind of lost it.'
And Craig Stadler found it.
He dropped a 10-footer to win No. 12 (the group's third hole), made the only par in the group on the par-3 13th, was the only player to hit the fairway on No. 14 (he birdied from 6 feet), hit his tee shot just over the back of the par-4 15th green (he had a gimme birdie) and missed an 8-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th.
The women thought they had him beaten on the par-3 17th, where Sorenstam dropped her ball 7 feet from the hole, but Stadler rolled in a 35-footer for birdie and Sorenstam missed.
Earlier, Stadler said he and Kevin would need to play a scramble to stand a chance. But then he proceeded to hit every fairway (except, technically, No. 15) and every green.
Then he left for North Carolina, where he will go for three straight wins this week in the SAS Championship.
'I surely didn't expect to come out and make six birdies,' Stadler said.
It was almost seven. His approach shot on No. 18 settled atop a ridge 18 feet above the hole.
A fan yelled, 'Give the ladies a chance!' Stadler narrowly missed, but the ball rolled 10 feet past the hole. 'Is that enough of a chance?' Stadler said.
Sorenstam made her par putt and Stadler stood over his comebacker. He heard the voice again.
'Give the ladies a chance!'
Stadler smacked his putt past the hole and tried to use the ridge in the green to bring the ball back. The intentional thee-putt gave the women the skin.
It was a welcome reprieve for two women not accustomed to losing.
'What do you do,' Park said plaintively, 'when they keep making birdies?'
The Stadlers won $17,500 for ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease research. Sorenstam and Park won $7,500 for breast cancer research. Albertsons and Kraft/Nabisco kicked in an extra $10,000 for the women's charity. The Shoot-Out is the annual prelude to the Albertsons Boise Open, a $600,000 Nationwide Tour event that runs Thursday through Sunday.