SAN DIEGO – For Scott Stallings, a year can make quite a difference.
Twelve months after forfeiting a five-shot lead at the Humana Challenge, Stallings captured the Farmers Insurance Open after a 4-under 68 Sunday, capping his round with an approach reminiscent of the one that cost him dearly in the desert.
The 28-year-old had already ceded his sizeable advantage last year at PGA West before firing an approach to the par-5 closing hole. His shot sailed left, found the water in front of the green and Stallings ultimately missed out on a three-man playoff by one shot.
“The shot I hit at Humana last year was solid, I just didn’t account for the lie,” said Stallings. “I kind of got so wrapped up in the moment, I didn’t really take into account what was happening. I just kind of saw my shot and hit it, and then wondered why it went left.”
This time around on the 72nd hole, he and caddie John Yarbrough took a more measured approach.
“Stepping into it John and I talked about the lie,” explained Stallings. “We just wanted to make sure I hit it solid enough to get it over the water. He said, ‘You can hit it absolutely as hard as you want,’ and that was all I really thought about.”
Stallings admitted to thinking often about his T-4 finish in Palm Springs, which in hindsight provided multiple lessons. He drew upon several of them Sunday at Torrey Pines, ultimately emerging from a six-way tie for the lead to claim his third career PGA Tour title.
“I walked really slow today, I made sure that I was patient,” he added. “I never got frustrated no matter what happened and I just kind of dealt with how it came. I learned a lot from that at Humana.”