Stanley rallies to win Phoenix
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Stanley rebounded from a devastating loss to win the Phoenix Open, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit Sunday in a comeback as unlikely as his collapse last week at Torrey Pines.
In tears seven days ago in San Diego after blowing a big lead — dropping the final strokes with a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole — and losing a playoff, Stanley took advantage of Spencer Levin's meltdown Sunday to win his first PGA Tour title.
"I'm not sure what I'm thinking right now," Stanley said. "I just needed to focus on playing golf. I needed to put last week behind me."
Stanley closed with a bogey-free 6-under 65, holing a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 18th, to finish at 15-under 269.
He cried again, this time tears of joy.
"I just want to thank my mom and dad. They've done a lot for me. I'm speechless," Stanley said in the scoring area moments after the victory.
Ben Crane had a 66 to finish a stroke back.
Levin, six strokes ahead entering the round and seven in front after one hole, shot a 75 to finish two strokes behind Stanley.
"I just didn't have it," Levin said. "Maybe I was looking ahead too much and trying too hard. What are you going to do? I tried my best."
The 24-year-old Stanley, the long-hitting former Clemson star from Gig Harbor, Wash., birdied the par-5 13th and par-4 14th to take a one-stroke lead at 15 under.
Levin, winless on the PGA Tour, birdied the 14th to regain a share of the lead, but dropped back with a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 15th.
"I really feel for him," Stanley said. "You don't want to wish that on anyone. He's a very good player. ... I feel bad for him."
Stanley parred the final three holes, playing a great recovery shot from under cactus to the right of the short par-4 17th.
He birdied Nos. 2, 3, 8, 9 and 11 to get to 13 under, and within three strokes of the faltering Levin.
Levin birdied No. 4 to reach 18 under, but bogeyed Nos. 4 and 6 and dropped two more strokes on Nos. 11 and 12 to let Stanley into the mix.
"I don't really know," Levin said. "I felt all right early."
Last week at Torrey Pines, Stanley led by seven shots early in the final round, and still had a four-shot lead as he stood on the tee at the par-5 18th.
But his third shot had too much spin and didn't get high enough on the green, spinning quickly down the slope and into the water. He three-putted from 45 feet for the triple bogey, then lost to Brandt Snedeker on the second playoff hole when his 5-foot par putt caught the right edge of the cup.
Did this victory erase last week?
"Not really," Stanley said. "I'm never going to forget that."
D.J. Trahan had a 66 to finish fourth at 12 under, and Brendan Steele (64) was another stroke back along with Kevin Na (65) and Bubba Watson (70).
At Doha, Qatar, former British Open champion Paul Lawrie chipped in for an eagle and a birdie on his way to winning the wind-shortened Qatar Open, shooting a 7-under 65 to hold off Jason Day and Peter Hanson.
Lawrie finished with a 15-under total of 201 to win his seventh European Tour event and his second in Qatar. Day (65) and Hanson (67) tied for second, four strokes back.
It was Lawrie's second victory in a year — he also won the Andalucian Open last March — after a nine-year drought. Now in the top 45, he could contend for a spot in the 2012 Ryder Cup.
"I played lovely all week. But today I think tee to green, apart from my tee shot on 10th, I can't play much better than that," said Lawrie, who also won the tournament in 1999. "I actually felt I left three or four putts out there and got it around to 7 under on a golf course where the greens were pretty firm."
Lawrie downplayed his age, saying he is playing better now than he was in 1999 when he won the British Open. He added that his putting has improved significantly in the past few months, which allowed him to contend at the season-ending DP World Championship and again last week in Abu Dhabi.
"You get a little bit older and you kind of lose focus but I actually feel the opposite," Lawrie said. "I feel I'm getting better. I feel my ball striking has improved immensely since I turned 40. So it's great to win."
Lawrie came into the final round with a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts. The 1999 British Open champion started slowly, with only a birdie on his first eight holes. But just as several players, including Sergio Garcia (68), were challenging for the lead, Lawrie sank a 20-yard chip for eagle on the 9th hole to go up by two.
Day and Garcia continued their charge, but Lawrie recorded four birdies on a flawless back nine that included clutch birdie putts on 11 and 14. And when Hanson chipped in for eagle on 16 to pull within three, Lawrie responded with chip in for birdie on 17. He played it safe on No. 18 and closed out with a short par putt for the win.