by Jeff Skinner
It was supposed to be a walk in the park for Kyle Stanley but it turned into a walk off the plank. It was going to be a victory lap but he stumbled on the home stretch. It was supposed to be a very good walk but it turned into a good walk spoiled. No one, including the Farmers Insurance Open Champion Brandt Snedeker could have envisioned what happened on the last hole of regulation.
Kyle Stanley was in the driver seat with a three stroke lead with one hole to play. Snedeker finished eighteen with a birdie that put him at sixteen under par and was resigned to a second place finish. Stanley hit two good shots to lay up on the eighteenth and was left with 77 yards to the hole. A wedge in and a simple two putt gives him a par and his first PGA Tour victory. He hit what looked like a good shot: it landed 10-15 feet past the hole and started to spin back. But it spun and spun and rolled through the collar and the closely trimmed rough and slowly rolled into the pond that fronts the eighteenth.
Stanley regrouped and hit his fifth shot well past the pin. Now he was left with 40 feet to the hole and needed two putts for a double bogey which would give him the win. With the pressure wearing him down his left his first putt four feet short of the hole. He slid his seventh shot past and finally dropped his eighth shot in the hole. It couldn’t have been any worse for Stanley, or could it?
He went from having the tournament in his pocket with a seven stroke lead during the final round. But even with his back nine collapse (which included two bogeys along with his triple) he still had a chance to win the tournament. He looked to have shaken off his troubles when he matched Snedeker’s birdie on the eighteenth in the first playoff hole but his luck once again turned bad when his par putt on the next hole slid by and Snedeker claimed his third tour win.
It was painful to watch and Stanley was indeed stunned afterwards he was “kind of in shock right now. I don’t really know what to say.”
Snedeker recognized the absurdity of the finish, “It’s just crazy,” Snedeker said. “I was literally in the media tent watching Kyle play 18. It’s hard to get my mind around what happened in the last 30 minutes. My heart goes out to Kyle.”