Kyle Stanley Bounces Back to a Win
After a devastating defeat, Kyle Stanley bounced back to win the Phoenix Open, coming off a deficit of eight strokes on Sunday.
The comeback was as unexpected as his defeat the previous week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, a game wherein he dissolved into tears following a big lead that he blew. He also dropped the final strokes on the final hole with a triple-bogey 8 and lost a playoff.
On Sunday, though, Stanley managed to take advantage of the meltdown Spencer Levin had on Sunday, which led him to win his first title in the PGA Tour.
“I’m not sure,” Stanley said, when asked about how he felt. He added that he just had to focus on playing, and had to put the last week’s embarrassing match behind him.
The 24-year-old Stanley finished with 6-under 65, bogey-free, and he managed to hole a par putt of 4 feet on the par-4 18th, finishing 15-under 269.
This time it was tears of joy that streamed down his face.
Within minutes following the victory, Stanley was speechless, and said he just wanted to thank his mom and dad for doing a lot for him.
Meanwhile, Levin, who entered the round with six strokes ahead and seven in front after a hole, managed a 75 and closed at two strokes trailing Stanley.
“I tried my best,” Levin said, admitting that he probably looked ahead and tried too hard. “I just didn’t have it,” he conceded.
Stanley, who hails from Gig Harbor Washington, had been the former Clemson star known for his long-hitting strokes, and he made birdies at par-5 13th and par-4 14th, leading by one stroke at 15 under.
The winless Levin, at least for the PGA Tour, regained a bit of the lead by birdying at the 14th, but a double-bogey 7 made on the par-5 15th caused him to drop back.
Stanley said that he actually felt sorry for Levin, saying that nobody wanted to wish that on any other player. “He’s a very good player,” he said.
The last three holes were parred by Stanley, giving him a great recovery from the right of short par-4 17th.
He made quite a few birdies within three strokes of Levin, who was obviously faltering, making a few bogeys to his name.
Levin said that he did not really know what was happening, as he felt fine early in the game.
During the Torrey Pines game last week, Stanley held the lead by seven shots during the early part of the final round, and kept a lead of four shots as he made his shot at the par-5 18th on tee.
But he gave too much spin to his third shot, which kept him from getting as high as he needed on the green; the ball spun quickly down the slope and headed right into the water. From 45 feet, he made a triple bogey and suffered a loss to Brandt Snedeker.
Despite the great victory this week, though, Stanley said that it did not necessarily erase his memories of last week’s loss, as he felt that he would never forget the experience.