Kyle Stanley had his first real chance at a PGA Tour victory taken away from him by Steve Stricker's otherworldly up-and-down from a fairway bunker at last year's John Deere Classic. Amazingly, he came up empty in more painful fashion in his second opportunity for a maiden win.
Entering Sunday with a five-shot lead at the Farmers Insurance Open, the second-year man from Clemson birdied his first two holes at Torrey Pines' South Course and extended his margin by seven shots at one point. Meanwhile, Brandt Snedeker, starting his final round seven off the pace, was the only player making a charge. Even with a kick-in birdie on No. 18 for a 67, though, Snedeker signed his scorecard still trailing by three with Stanley only having the easy par-5 closing hole.
As you can see in the following highlights, however, no lead is ever safe:
Following his stunning triple bogey, Stanley bounced back to birdie 18 in the playoff. Unfortunately for him, so did Snedeker, who then parred the difficult par-3 16th to win on the second extra hole. While the Vanderbilt product picked up his third career win, Stanley, 24, was left without any to his credit, despite the fact victory looked certain enough for a premature winning check to be made out to him.
Stanley wound up taking a much different check home with him instead. On the bright side, the $648,000 he pocketed was still the biggest of his young career, and he can also take solace in knowing it will be tough to ever have a more crushing loss the rest of his career.
Robert Garrigus suffered a similar fate when he made a triple on the closing hole at the 2010 St. Jude Classic and then lost in a playoff to Lee Westwood. The meltdown in Memphis nearly cost him his tour card, but he bounced back to pick up his first PGA Tour win in the season's last event at Disney.
Stanley, the winner of the 2009 Ben Hogan award for the top collegiate golfer in the country, shouldn't have a problem making a good living at the game's highest level. A breakthrough win coming sooner rather than later, however, will certainly help him get over some early bumps in the road.-- Alex Myers