SCOTTSDALE, Az. –Like father, like son.
Indeed, in his 239th start, Kevin Stadler has his first PGA Tour victory.
Stadler carded a 3-under 68 to track down Bubba Watson on the back nine Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Stadler, the 33-year-old son of PGA Tour winner Craig Stadler, closed with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Watson and Canadian Graham DeLaet.
Stadler earned a spot in the Masters — a tournament his father won in 1982. The Stadlers are the ninth father-son winners in Tour history.
It’s a feel-good story, too. For years, Craig has continued teeing it up at Augusta National in hopes that Kevin would soon join him. When son finally tees it up in the field with dad this coming April, it will be the final time for the past champion.
“It’s really my last one,” Craig said by phone minutes after Kevin’s victory. “I kept saying, ‘You know, when he gets in, that’s my last one.”
“He probably would have liked it better,” Kevin added with a smile, “if I had gotten there five years ago, so he could call it quits then.”
The Baby Walrus finished at 16-under 268 at TPC Scottsdale. Raised in Colorado, he played in Denver Broncos colors, wearing an orange shirt and blue pants and hat.
Watson shot a 71, and DeLaet had a 65.
Tied on the 18th tee at 16 under, Stadler piped his drive while Watson found the right rough. From 122 yards, Watson airmailed the 18th green with a wedge. Next, Stadler knocked it to 11 feet from 108 yards.
After Watson made a great low chip shot — which appeared to hit a TV cord on the ground — to about 5 feet, Stadler just missed his birdie putt for the win and tapped in for par. Watson then missed his 5-footer that would have sent it to a playoff.
Watson and Stadler both drove the par-4 17th but faced 90-foot eagle putts. And both two-putted for birdie.
Watson birdied Nos. 4 and 5 before bogeying the ninth. He then made six straight pars before another bogey on the 16th after he missed a 5-footer for par.
Ahead of the final groups, Canadian Graham DeLaet posted 15 under after a back-nine 32 to post his second straight 65. Hunter Mahan (68) also challenged, but finished at 14 under with Hideki Matsuyama (69) after his birdie bid slid just by on the 72nd hole.
Phil Mickelson closed with a 71 to tie for 42nd at 3 under. Lefty was making his 25th appearance in the event he won in 1996, 2005 and 2013.
He showed no signs of the back pain that forced him to withdraw last week at Torrey Pines, and will play next week at Pebble Beach.
The event drew an estimated 563,008 fans, breaking the seven-day record of record of 538,356 set in 2008. The tournament set records the last five days, drawing a golf-record 189,722 on Saturday and 60,232 on Sunday.