DUBLIN, Ohio – A year ago at Muirfield Village, Scott Stallings learned a valuable lesson from the game’s top-ranked player. Sunday, he put that knowledge to use, firing a 5-under 67 to notch his second straight top-five finish on the PGA Tour.
“Last year I played with Tiger (in the third round), and walking up the fairway he said, ‘We both shoot 67 and I’ll see you in a playoff,’” explained Stallings, who finished Sunday six shots behind winner Matt Kuchar. “I said, ‘What?’ It was shocking to me; we hadn’t finished 18 and he was already thinking about the next day. And I said, ‘That guy has it figured out.’”
While Woods found himself on the wrong end of the leaderboard this time around, Stallings produced a Sunday surge thanks to a string of five straight birdies on the front nine. He carded seven birdies in total, producing the day’s low round despite bogeys on two of his final three holes.
“I thought I'd go out and try to go aggressive and see what happens,” noted Stallings, who needed just 26 putts for the second consecutive day at Muirfield Village. “With the great field and a golf course that I’ve loved since the first day I stepped on it, it’s a great way to end the tournament.”
After playing his way into contention through 36 holes, Stallings faltered Saturday during an erratic round of 3-over 75. One round later, he relished the opportunity to play his way back onto the first page of the leaderboard.
“Golf is a weird game. Not every day you make five birdies and an eagle and shoot 75,” Stallings said of his Saturday score, a round that also included two double bogeys and a triple bogey. “You don’t have to be off very far (at Muirfield Village) to make some big numbers. It was nice to come back today.”
After missing four straight cuts, Stallings has now recorded T-4 finishes at each of the last two PGA Tour stops. A winner on the PGA Tour each of the last two seasons, he will now look to capitalize on his recent good play heading into the second half of the 2013 season.
“It was nice to get out there and compete a couple weeks in a row,” added Stallings, who also tied for fourth earlier this season at the Humana Challenge. “Hopefully it will carry on the rest of the summer.”