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Associated Press
Bubba Watson reacts after missing a short putt on the 18th hole that would have forced a playoff at the Phoenix Open on Sunday.
Golf

Missed putt opens door for Stadler

Stadler

– The Smallrus finally hoisted a big PGA Tour trophy.

Kevin Stadler, the 33-year-old son of major champion Craig “The Walrus” Stadler, won the Phoenix Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory.

Stadler won when playing partner Bubba Watson missed a 5-foot par putt on 18.

“It was a little weird way to win a golf tournament,” Stadler said. “I fully expected him to make the putt. I would have rather made mine to win it.”

Stadler closed with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Watson and Canadian Graham DeLaet. Watson shot 71, and DeLaet had a 65.

“He beat me,” Watson said. “He’s a great player.”

Stadler won in his 239th tour start, earning a spot in the Masters – a tournament his father won in 1982. The Stadlers are the ninth father-son winners in tour history and will be the first to play in the same Masters.

“It’s going to great for me because it’s really my last one,” said Craig Stadler, a 13-time PGA Tour winner with nine Champions Tour victories. “I kept saying, ‘When he gets in, that’s my last one.’ … I’m proud of him. It’s awesome.”

Kevin Stadler finished at 16-under 268 at TPC Scottsdale, his home course. Raised in Colorado, he played in Denver Broncos colors, wearing an orange shirt and blue pants and hat.

What was he thinking when Watson was standing over his par putt on 18?

“How long the playoff was going to take and how long until I can watch the football game?” Stadler said.

On the par-4 18th, Stadler hit his 110-yard approach to the back right pin to 10 feet. Watson drove into the right rough and hammered his 120-yard second over the green.

Watson bladed his shot from the trampled rough into the bank next to the green and it ran 5 feet past the hole. After Stadler missed his birdie try and tapped in for par, Watson’s par try slid by the left side.

“I thought I hit a good putt, but obviously I misread that, too,” Watson said.

EUROPEAN: In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Stephen Gallacher of Scotland shot a final-round 72 to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic title, beating Emiliano Grillo of Argentina by one stroke.

He won the 25-year-old tournament with an overall 16-under 272 for only his third victory in 18 years and 431 events on the European Tour.

Grillo secured his best Tour finish when he eagled the last hole for a round of 66.

Rory McIlroy struggled with a 74 to finish tied for ninth while top-ranked Tiger Woods (71) birdied his closing three holes for a share of 41st with a 6-under 282.

LPGA: In Christchurch, New Zealand, Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea shot a course-record 9-under 63 to win the Women’s New Zealand Golf Open by a stroke over defending champion Lydia Ko.

Lee, ranked 256th and whose best finish in 2013 was a tie for 19th at the Evian Championship, had an eagle and seven birdies in a final round that saw her leap 20 places into the lead with a total of 9-under 207.

Sixteen-year-old New Zealander Ko, the world No. 4, had a long birdie putt on the final green for a chance to force a playoff to the 54-hole event at the Clearwater course in Christchurch. But in front of huge home gallery, she left her effort short as she carded a two-under 70.

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