January 27, 2014 in Sports

Stallings worthy of third tour win

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Scott Stallings collected his third career PGA Tour victory with a win on Sunday at Torrey Pines.
(Full-size photo)

In a tournament that was up for grabs, Scott Stallings hit a 4-iron worthy of a winner Sunday in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Stallings was in a five-way tie for the lead when he hit his second shot on the par-5 18th hole as hard as he could. It was enough to barely clear the water, and he took two putts from 40 feet for birdie and a 4-under 68 at Torrey Pines in San Diego. That was enough for a one-shot victory when no one could catch him.

It was the third career PGA Tour victory for Stallings, who earned a return trip to the Masters and should move high enough in the world rankings to qualify for the Match Play Championship next month in Arizona.

K.J. Choi had the best score of the week on the South Course with a 66 and was among those who tied for second. The pins were set up in favorable positions for birdies, making the course play the easiest it had all week.

But that didn’t make it easy – not for Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth, Pat Perez and so many others who squandered a good chance to win.

Woodland appeared to have the best chance to catch Stallings. He was one shot behind – with plenty of length to reach the 18th in two – until he chose fairway metal off the tee on No. 17 and hooked it into the canyon.

He felt he had to make his 45-foot par putt to have any chance, and three-putted for double bogey. Woodland missed an easy birdie attempt on the 18th and closed with a 74.

Marc Leishman of Australia had the last chance to force a playoff, but his drive on the 18th went well right and bounced off the cart path and a fan. He had no shot at the green in two, and his wedge for an eagle stopped a few feet to the side of the hole. His tap-in birdie gave him a 71 and a share of second.

Stallings finished at 9-under 279.

Jason Day (68) and Graham DeLaet of Canada (68) birdied on the last hole to tie for second.

So did Perez, the San Diego native who grew up at Torrey Pines and whose father is the longtime starter on the first tee at the Farmers Insurance Open. Perez missed a 10-foot birdie chance on the 17th. He closed with a 70.

Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho, finished at 291.

LPGA

Jessica Korda won the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic on Paradise Island for her second tour title, holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Stacy Lewis by a stroke.

The 20-year-old Korda closed with a 7-under 66 for a 19-under 273 total on Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club course. Lewis parred the final four holes – two of them par 5s – for a 66.

Korda tied Lewis for the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th, then got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 18th.

Korda’s 4-iron approach on 18 scampered through the green and up against the grandstand. She took relief from the grandstand and, with an official and a TV announcer holding up cords that would have interfered with her stroke, putted under the wires to set up the winning birdie.

Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander making her first start as an LPGA Tour member, tied for seventh.

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