A month ago, Kevin Stadler was looking for a place to play golf. Now, he is all but assured a trip to the PGA Tour next year.
Stadler collected $85,500 for winning the Scholarship America Showdown July 11 at Troy Burne Golf Club in a three-hole playoff over Mathew Goggin, Chris Tidland and Kyle Thompson.
“It still hasn’t sunk in from two weeks ago,” Stadler said. “To win one was beyond my expectations, but to win two is beyond words.”
Stadler, 24, won the Lake Erie Charity Classic June 27 for his first Nationwide Tour title. In three weeks, Stadler has won $167,715 to move to No. 11 on the money list. The top 20 players earn PGA Tour cards for 2005. He joins Jimmy Walker and Daniel Chopra as two-time winners this season. One more victory by any of the trio earns the player a promotion to the PGA Tour.
“This is going to change everything golfwise,” said Stadler. “It is just insane. I’ve been happy with my play since I turned pro, but I just haven’t finished well.”
This time, he did. Stadler birdied the final hole to make the playoff, then made a birdie on the third playoff hole to defeat Tidland. Goggin was out after the first hole (bogey), and Thompson dropped out at the second extra hole (bogey). The foursome finished at 11-under 269.
“I knew I had to make birdie on the last hole of regulation,” said Stadler, who hit 13 of 18 greens and 11 of 13 fairways Sunday.
Stadler won’t have to wait long to tee it up on PGA Tour, however, as he will play with his father and defending champion, Craig, at the B.C. Open this week via a sponsor exemption. His victory here also earned him a spot in the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee July 22-25.
With the tour’s hottest player off the beat for two weeks, that might be good news for the rest of the players on the Nationwide Tour.