It sure was an exciting finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Februay 5, 2012, coming down to the final hole between Kyle Stanley and Ben Crane. In the end, it was Stanley to walk away with the victory, the first tour win of his career.
Stanley shot a 6-under on Sunday to finish at 15-under for the tournament, just a stroke ahead of Ben Crane. But one stroke is all you need in this game to separate yourself from the rest and take home the win.
Last week, Stanley went into the final hole at the Farmer's Insurance Open with a three stroke lead, and what looked like a sure victory. But he went on to triple-bogey the last hole, forcing a playoff, which he lost to Brandt Snedeker. This added excitement to the Phoenix Open, wondering whether or not Stanley would be able to maintain his composure.
It really was a nail biter right up until the end. Stanley missed a birdie putt on the 18 green, leaving him about a four foot putt for par. He made his par putt, to secure his one stroke lead over Crane. It was just the type of exciting ending you hope for when watching a tournament.
Spencer Levin began the day with the lead at 17-under, but was not able to maintain it, giving the opportunity for several golfers to step into his place. Levin was still a contender all the way through hole 17, when he missed a very long birdie putt. Without that birdie, it put his hopes of a win out of reach.
One of Stanley's dreams, like many golfers, is to win all four majors. This is a step in the right direction for the young golfer, a win early in the season could lead to another soon enough. This makes two strong showings already this season for Stanley, so I won't be surprised to see him towards the top of the leader board for some time to come.
Elias Bond grew up playing golf, and played religiously through high school and college. He still tries to find time to get out there for a round or two now and again, but seems to watch more than play these days.