Stanley makes third best comeback in PGA Tour history
Clemson, SC—Former Clemson All-American Kyle Stanley overcame an eight-shot deficit entering the final round and won the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stanley had a 72-hole score of 269, a 15-under par score on the par 71 TPC of Scottsdale Course.
Stanley had rounds of 69-66-69-65 in winning $1,098,000, his biggest check as a professional. With the victory he moved to first place on the PGA Tour money list with $1,793,575 through four events. He also leads the Tour in Fed Ex Cup points and is third on the Tour in stroke average with a 69.13 average.
On Sunday, in shooting a 65, Stanley had six birdies and 12 pars. He hit 16 of 18 greens, giving him 57 of 72 greens for the week. He won by one shot over Ben Crane, who shot a 66 on Sunday and finished with a 270 score. Spencer Levin, who had a six-shot lead on the field, including eight shots over Stanley entering the final round, finished third at 13-under-par 271. Stanley was tied for fifth at nine under par entering the final round.
Former Clemson All-American D.J. Trahan shot a 66 on Sunday and finished fourth with a 272 score. Trahan had a 64 on Saturday and his 130 score was the best in the tournament on the weekend, even four shots better than Stanley.
Stanley overcame an eight-shot deficit entering the final round. It tied for the third best comeback in the history of the PGA Tour and was the best since Craig Stadler overcame an eight-shot deficit entering the final round of the 2003 BC Open.
Stanley has been the story of professional golf so far this year. He had a five-shot lead entering the final round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open in San Diego last weekend, and had a seven-shot lead in the middle of the final round. But he made an eight on the last hole, then lost in a playoff to Brent Snedeker.
But, one week later Stanley was in the winner’s circle holding a check of more than $1 million.
With Stanley’s victory, a former Clemson golfer has won at least one tournament on the PGA Tour each of the last nine years, the longest active streak for any school. Arizona State and UNLV could tie the Tigers if one of their former players wins an event later this year.
Stanley’s win will give him an invitation to the Masters in April. That will give Clemson four players in the Masters for the first time. Lucas Glover qualified earlier by virtue of his 2009 US Open Championship. Jonathan Byrd had already qualified by his top 30 finish on the Fed Ex Cup list last year. Current Clemson golfer Corbin Mills received an invitation by winning the 2011 US Public Links Championship.
Stanley is the youngest former Clemson golfer to win a PGA event. Born on November 19, 1987, Stanley is 24 years, two months and 17 days. Jonathan Byrd was the previous youngest former Tiger to win on the Tour. He was 24 years and nine months when he won the 2002 Buick Challenge.
Stanley was an All-American at Clemson between 2006-09. He was a first-team All-American as a freshman and a junior when he finished second at the NCAA Championships both years. He helped Clemson to a number-five national team finish in 2008, his sophomore year.
Greatest Comebacks in PGA Tour History Year Golfer Tournament Comeback 1999 Paul Lawrie British Open 10 shots 2004 Stewart Cink MCI Heritage 9 shots 2012 Kyle Stanley Waste Management 8 shots 1956 Jackie Burke Masters 8 shots 1959 Ken Venturie Los Angeles Open 8 shots 1983 Mark Lye Banks of Boston 8 shots 1985 Hal Sutton St. Jude Memphis Open 8 shots 1990 Chip Beck Buick Open 8 shots 1998 Scott Simpson Buick Invitational 8 shots 2003 Craig Stadler BC Open 8 Shots Clemson Alumni PGA Tour Victories Year Player Tournament Score Victory Margin 1991 Dillard Pruitt Chattanooga Classic 260 (-20) 2 over Lance Ten Broeck 1996 Clarence Rose Spring International 31 Points Playoff over Brad Faxon 2002 Jonathan Byrd Buick Challenge 261 (-27) 1 over David Toms 2004 Jonathan Byrd BC Open 268 (-20) 1 over Ted Purdy 2005 Lucas Glover Funai Open 265 (-23) 1 over Tom Pernice 2006 D.J. Trahan Southern Farm 275 (-13) Playoff vs. Joe Durant 2007 Jonathan Byrd John Deere 266 (-18) 1 over Tim Clark 2008 D.J. Trahan Bob Hope Chrysler 334 (-26) 3 over Justin Leonard 2009 Lucas Glover US Open 276 (-4) 2 over Barnes, Duval, Michelson 2010 Jonathan Byrd Justin Timberlake 263 (-21) playoff over Laird, Percy 2011 Jonathan Byrd Hyundai Classic 260 (-24) playoff over Robert Garrigus 2011 Lucas Glover Wells Fargo 273 (-15) Playoff over Jonathan Byrd 2012 Kyle Stanley Waste Management 269 (-15) 1 over Ben Crane
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