SAN DIEGO (AP) ― In a tournament that was up for grabs, Scott Stallings hit a 4-iron worthy of a winner Sunday in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Stallings was in a five-way tie for the lead when he hit his second shot on the par-5 18th hole as hard as he could. It was enough to barely clear the water, and he took two putts from 40 feet for birdie and a 4-under 68 at Torrey Pines.
|Scott Stallings celebrates with the winner’s trophy on Sunday. (USA Today-Yonhap)|
That was enough for a one-shot victory when no one could catch him.
It was the third career PGA Tour victory for Stallings, who earned a return trip to the Masters and should move high enough in the world ranking to qualify for the Match Play Championship next month in Arizona.
Choi Kyung-ju had the best score of the week on the South Course with a 66 and was among those who tied for second. The pins were set up in favorable positions for birdies, making the course play the easiest it had all week.
|Choi Kyung-ju plays a shot on the 17th hole at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)|
But that didn’t make it easy ― not for Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth, Pat Perez and so many others who squandered a good chance to win.
Woodland appeared to have the best chance to catch Stallings. He was one shot behind ― with plenty of length to reach the 18th in two ― until he chose fairway metal off the tee on No. 17 and hooked it into the canyon. He felt he had to make his 45-foot par putt to have any chance, and three-putted for double bogey. Woodland, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, missed an easy birdie attempt on the 18th and closed with a 74.
“This will be hard to swallow,” Woodland said. “I felt like I kind of gave one away today.”
Marc Leishman of Australia had the last chance to force a playoff, but his drive on the 18th went well right and bounced off the cart path and a fan. He had no shot at the green in two, and his wedge for an eagle stopped a few feet to the side of the hole. His tap-in birdie gave him a 71 and a share of second.
Stallings finished at 9-under 279. Jason Day (68) and Graham DeLaet of Canada (68) each made birdie on the last hole to tie for second. So did Perez, the San Diego native who grew up at Torrey Pines and whose father is the longtime starter on the first tee at the Farmers Insurance Open.