2006: Stadler closes in on PGA card

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Rochester, N.Y.

Kevin Stadler has been bouncing around three tours this year. But his final goal is a return to the PGA Tour.

He got a step closer thanks to his good play – and Glen Day – at the Xerox Classic. Stadler, in the clubhouse at 9-under 271, scored his third career Nationwide Tour victory Aug. 13 when Day made double bogey at the final hole.

“I was fully expecting a playoff,” said Stadler, who finished 45 minutes ahead of Day. “It’s not the way you want it to end. It’s hard watching the tournament finish like that. At the same time,

I really didn’t want to go out and warm up again. I played great today and it feels kind of deserved, but you don’t want to back into it.”

Day, leading at 10 under, hooked his tee shot at the 478-yard, par-4 18th and criss-crossed the fairway twice before eventually missing a 4-foot putt for bogey.

Stadler, the first player in the two-year history of the tournament to post four rounds in the 60s, earned $103,500 and moved from No. 54 to No. 17 in earnings. The top 20 money winners earn PGA Tour cards.

Stadler has had mixed results on all tours this year. Prior to Xerox, Stadler had only two top 10s and only one other finish inside the top 30 in eight Nationwide Tour events. On the PGA Tour, he has made the cut in four of five events, with only one finish better than 67th. Stadler earned PGA European Tour status earlier this year with a victory at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia in February. He has missed the cut in five other European Tour events.

It was an odd start to the day for Stadler, who was introduced as his well-known father, Craig, on the first tee.

“I had some squirrelly thoughts running through my head as I was standing over my tee shot,” Stadler said. “I’d eventually like to work my way out of that, but it’s a pretty large shadow to be in.”

Third victory has to wait: Johnson Wagner and Tripp Isenhour, the tour’s two-time winners this year, still are looking for their third victory and promotion to the PGA Tour.

Wagner, the tour’s leading money winner and victor at the Cox Classic Aug. 6, tied for 17th.

“It is a real relief to separate myself a little,” Wagner told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “Now if I could go ahead and get that third win I could get on the PGA Tour this year with about 10 events left. If anything, I’ll grind it even harder now, but it eases the pressure, knowing I’m pretty safe in

the top 5 no matter what.”

Isenhour, meanwhile, missed his third consecutive cut and hasn’t finished inside the top 40 since early June.

“I would say that I tried to win some golf tournaments right off the bat rather than trying to play myself into a win, so it has been a little bit bothersome,” Isenhour told the Democrat and Chronicle. “I think I’m over that hump now. Hopefully from now till the end of the year I’m going to give myself some chances to win.”

Just another day: Despite his final-hole meltdown, Glen Day had his best finish of the year by far.

In 10 PGA Tour events, Day has made only two cuts (T-53 and T-56). In 11 Nationwide Tour events, he has made only four cuts. Prior to Xerox, Day had only one finish better than 55th, a T-14 in Louisiana back in March.

“Golf’s a four-letter word for a reason,” Day said Saturday. “It only takes one week. I’ve played horrible this year.”

Short shots: Jeff Burns aced the 125-yard sixth hole with a 9-iron in the second round. . . . Michael Putnam’s streak of 13 consecutive cuts made came to an end. Putnam shot 73-77. He came into the event with 13 consecutive rounds in the 60s. He had shot par-or-better scores in 45 of last 52 rounds. . . . In the second round, Paul Gow began the front nine (his back nine) with six consecutive 3s (three pars, two birdies and an eagle). Gow shot 66. . . . Scott Hend was disqualified for not signing his scorecard after the second round.

– Staff and wire reports

On the tee

Next up: National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic, Aug. 24-27, Pete Dye Golf Club, Bridgeport, W. Va. 2005 champion: Jason Gore.

The buzz: Players have to go low here as the first two winners D.A. Points (2004) and Gore (2005) shot 23 and 17 under, respectively. Venue is No. 5 on Golfweek’s America’s Best Modern Courses – a ranked rarity among pro tour stops.

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