Kyle Stanley may have experienced one of golf's most heartbreaking losses on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, but he has reason to not despair for long.
Two years ago, Robert Garrigus came to the 72nd hole of TPC Southwind seemingly assured of his first PGA Tour win in Memphis. A wet tee shot and a misunderstanding of the size of his lead resulted in a triple bogey, landing him in a three-man playoff he would eventually lose.
He left Tennessee, however, assured of his superior week.
"I know I played better than they all did in the field,” he said at the time. “It's alright. I'm going to go on from this week and we'll be good. It's little things to win. I've got to learn that, and next time I'm in that position, I'm going to do it."
Garrigus recovered later that year. He managed to win at Disney World that fall, gaining some measure of revenge for that Memphis meltdown.
The 24-year-old Stanley, who blew a three-shot lead on the final hole, then lost in a playoff, will have a few sleepless nights, wondering what could have come from a win: a two-year exemption, a spot in the Masters and a likely place at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. His talent, however, will afford him more chances to win.
"I know I'll be back. I'm not worried about that. It's just tough to swallow right now," Stanley said. "I just need to be patient. One of my goals coming into this year was to just keep putting myself in position, and I'll do that."
Barely into his second season, he has done that twice. Last summer at the John Deere Classic, a bogey at the 72nd hole gave Steve Stricker a window cracked wide enough to win with two closing birdies.
Armed with a pair of harsh 72nd-hole lessons from both experiences, Stanley will have the tools to win next time.
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