Stadler wins Johnnie Walker Classic
America's Kevin Stadler finished with an eagle for the third consecutive day to win the Johnnie Walker Classic and his biggest professional victory.
Perth:America's Kevin Stadler finished with an eagle for the third consecutive day to win the Johnnie Walker Classic and his biggest professional victory on Sunday. Stadler is the 26-year-old son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler. He had a 3-under 69 for a 20-under 268 total on The Vines Resort's Lakes Course, and a two-stroke victory over Australia's Nick O'Hern. Stadler earned $365,340 in the event sanctioned by the European, Australasian and Asian tours. O'Hern birdied the final two holes for a 68. Stadler won the Argentine Open in December after finishing 168th on the PGA Tour money list last year to lose his tour card. He also won two Nationwide Tour events in 2004. He is now faced with a choice of where to play this year, with the victory earning him a full exemption on the European Tour. "I had planned on playing the full Nationwide Tour," Stadler said. "To be honest, I have no idea what I'm going to do. There are plenty of spots I'd love to see (in Europe), let alone go and play". Stunning approach Robert Allenby shot a 66 to tie for third with fellow Australian Richard Green at 16 under. The PGA Tour regular had an unprecedented Australian sweep late last year, winning the Australian Open, PGA and Masters in consecutive weeks. Stadler got off to fast start with birdies on Nos 1-3, but dropped three strokes with consecutive bogeys on Nos 5-7. The American pulled ahead again with birdies on Nos 9 and 10 and had seven straight pars before making an eagle on the par-5 18th for the third straight day. Needing a birdie to avoid a playoff, Stadler made a stunning three-iron approach from 200 yards which caught the right-hand side of the large green and rolled to within a foot of the hole. "I don't know what happened there," Stadler said. "It was obviously the best shot I hit all week". Stadler slipped under the radar in a quality field, but shared the lead on the opening day and then led throughout as stars such as Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Colin Montgomerie missed the cut. Adam Scott, the Australian title holder, and Fred Couples faltered as Stadler stood firm, the final hole encapsulating his nerveless play. (AP)
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