Tour Tracker: Stadler wins Phoenix Open

Kevin Stadler during the final round of the PGA Tour's 2014 Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.

Bubba Watson and Kevin Stadler began Sunday at TPC Scottsdale first and second in the Phoenix Open – and finished the day in those spots as well, although trading places as Stadler earned his first PGA Tour victory.

Watson and Stadler battled back and forth for the lead while holding off big runs from Pat Perez and Charles Howell III as well as steady play by Hideki Matsuyama and Hunter Mahan during Sunday's final round.

Phil Mickelson rose a bit and fell a bit while shooting even par to finish 3 under.

• See how McIlroy, Woods fared as Gallacher won Dubai Desert Classic.

Recap the highlights with our Tracker right here – and scroll down for our previous Phoenix Open coverage this week!

• • •

Update No. 28: 6:01 p.m. EST

Back to a two-man duel, Kevin Stadler bests Bubba Watson tee-to-green at the par-4 18th – finding the fairway and hitting his approach to about 10 feet from the back pin. Watson hits his drive into the right-side rough and flies his approach shot over the green.

Watson hits his chip from a heavy lie and the ball doesn't get airborne – but hits the gallery rope on the ground as it rolls onto the green and stops about 5 feet past the pin.

That puts Stadler in control of his own destiny for a moment. His birdie try, however, slides past on the high side and forces him to settle for a tap-in par.

Back to Watson and his par comebacker to force a playoff. It trails away left and Stadler has the win.

"Obviously I would have liked to make that putt there and won it that way," Stadler tells CBS at the 18th green. "But it's been a long time coming, so I'll take it any way I can get it."

• • •

Update No. 27: 5:41 p.m. EST

Hunter Mahan misses the 18th green but has a birdie putt from off the edge; that misses right and leaves him wrapping up a par for a 68 that sends him in at 14 under, one back of co-leaders Graham DeLaet, Kevin Stadler and Bubba Watson.

HIdeki Matsuyama, who just watched two of the co-leaders hit up on the 17th, three-putts for par to remain 14 under and a shot back of the lead as he heads to the last.

Watson, just slightly farther from the hole than Stadler, quickly begins reading his putt but gives it a thorough look – and it comes up about 20 feet short. Did Stadler learn something? Perhaps, as he hits his lag to within about 5 feet of the hole. No matter to Watson, who drains his long birdie try and pumps his fist as he did at the 15th in saving par. Stadler makes as well to keep pace, as he and Watson pull a shot ahead of DeLaet, two clear of Mahan and Matsuyama.

• • •

Update No. 26: 5:29 p.m. EST

Co-leader Kevin Stadler drives the green at the par-4 17th, but faces a long putt. Fellow co-leader Bubba Watson then hits his tee shot to nearly the exact same position. Putting contest on tap.

Co-leader Graham DeLaet said after his round that he needed some extra work with his trainer before the round began to address a back injury – as well as a dose of ibuprofen. After his second straight 65, the Canadian sounded plenty pleased speaking to CBS.

"I knew that I would just have to make a lot of birdies," said DeLaet, a Boise State product looking for his first Tour win. "After my tee shot on 15, I kind of thought my chances were probably gone. Hopefully that's not the case.

• • •

Update No. 25: 5:17 p.m. EST

Having played the famed 16th in 1 under this week, leader Bubba Watson misses short and left today – finding the bunker. Kevin Stadler nearly does the same, but his ball flies a bit farther and catches the left-side collar. Stadler nearly makes birdie, but taps in for par. Watson hits his sand shot past the pin about 5 feet or more, then misses his downhill par putt.

Hideki Matsuyama hits his approach at the 16th past the pin, then struggles with a tricky chip back to the pin; it runs out just more than 10 feet and he can't make the comebacker, dropping to 14 under and out of the T-2 group.

Hunter Mahan finds the fairway bunker at the par-4 17th, then hits his approach to the front of the deep green with the pin back; he three putts and, like Matsuyama, drops to 14 under.

Graham DeLaet fires one close with his approach at the 18th and sinks a short putt to get to the clubhouse at 15 under – better late than never to the T-2 party.

So, the leaderboard: DeLaet in the clubhouse at 15 under, with Stadler and Watson tied for the lead on that mark with two to play; Mahan and Matsuyama a shot back with one and two holes to play, respectively.

• • •

Update No. 24: 5:05 p.m. EST

After taking a drop, Bubba Watson hits his approach at No. 15 well short of the green – as does Kevin Stadler, who ends up in the water. Stadler takes a drop and hits a fine wedge inside 10 feet. Watson answers by getting up and down for par, thanks to a clutch putt after his pitch came up short. Stadler matches Watson with a par putt of his own. Big saves keep the leader and one of his closest pursuers from dropping a shot.

• • •

Update No. 23: 4:54 p.m. EST

Leader Bubba Watson finds trouble off the 15th tee, hitting it in the water on the left side – a situation from which Graham DeLaet recently made bogey. Kevin Stadler finds the fairway, giving himself a chance to take advantage of Watson's misfire.

Hideki Matsuyama goes for the par-5 15th green in two but finds the left-side bunker, a tough spot on a day when the pin also is left. He hits his sand shot past the pin to makeable range, but he slides it just past on the high side and settles for par.

And Hunter Mahan has joined the 15-under fray with a birdie at the par-3 16th. Playoff, anyone?

Remember that incident Stadler had with a cactus earlier? The Tour has video of his prickly predicament (mobile readers can see it right here), which led to a costly double bogey and a two-shot swing that is the most recent lead change of the round.

• • •

Update No. 22: 4:38 p.m. EST

A two-putt par for Bubba Watson at No. 14 keeps him at 16 under, and that's good enough to maintain a one-shot lead as Kevin Stadler misses a short birdie try and settles for his third straight par.

Right on line with the pin, Hideki Matsuyama's approach at No. 14 is within birdie range, but he two-putts for par. Playing in the day's next-to-last group, Matsuyama remains one back of Watson as the three-man battle for the lead heads to the par-5 15th.

• • •

Update No. 21: 4:21 p.m. EST

Leader Bubba Watson gives himself an edge off the tee at the par-5 13th, long and down the left-center of the fairway, while Kevin Stadler misses right and is forced to lay up. But Watson short-sides himself on the approach, while Stadler lays up in fine position and wedges to less than 10 feet for birdie. Watson's pitch skips well past the hole to leave himself a long birdie try that he lags close to tap in for par. Stadler then misses and settles for par as well.

Hideki Matsuyama, meanwhile, had birdied the 13th in the group ahead to move to 15 under and tie Stadler, inserting himself into what had been a two-man battle for the lead much of the day. Like Stadler, Matsuyama is chasing his first Tour win.

Side note: Was there a prop bet this week for third-round PGA Tour attendance? If so, 189,722 is your winner – which surely would have been the over as it's a record.

• • •

Update No. 20: 4:04 p.m. EST

Leader Bubba Watson and second-place Kevin Stadler are both pin high and left at the par-3 12th, and both two-putt for textbook pars that keep them at 16 and 15 under, respectively, as they head to the par-5 13th looking to pick up birdie or eagle; plenty have converted at the 13th today.

Watson had dropped to a share of the lead early today as Kevin Stadler opened with three straight birdies, but the 2012 Masters champ leaned on his shotmaking ability and answered with back-to-back birdies of his own at Nos. 3-4 (mobile readers can see the video here).

Three birdies in four holes for Graham DeLaet at Nos. 10, 12 and 13, meanwhile, lift him to T-3 with Hideki Matsuyama.

• • •

Update No. 19: 3:47 p.m. EST

At No. 11, leader Kevin Stadler drives his ball into a cactus – the ball sticking on in its thorns – and he is forced to take a drop on the native area, then hits his approach onto the green. Bubba Watson, from the fairway, misses long and left with his approach. Watson flops it close to the short-side pin and makes the putt to complete the up-and-down for par, while Stadler three-putts for double bogey.

That puts Watson back in the lead by a shot – and is the pair's second two-shot swing in three holes.

Meanwhile, Hideki Matsuyama moves alone into third with his second birdie of the day coming at No. 10 and he follows with a par at No. 11. He also gives himself a birdie try at the par-3 12th but settles for another par to remain two back of Watson's lead at 14 under.

• • •

Update No. 18: 3:29 p.m. EST

A two-shot swing as Bubba Watson bogeys and Kevin Stadler birdies at No. 9 puts the latter atop the leaderboard by a stroke, while both follow with a par at No. 10. Charles Howell III, Hideki Matsuyama and Pat Perez are four shots back of Stadler's lead. Stadler, a USC product, seeks his first Tour win.

Wrapping up his week, Phil Mickelson gets up and down for par at No. 9 and an even-par round of 71. That leaves him T-47 at 3 under as he heads to the clubhouse amid a shower of cheers for the Arizona State product whose best round this week was a 67 Friday.

• • •

Update No. 17: 3:12 p.m. EST

Nobody's having a better round so far today than Charles Howell III, who steps to the tee at the par-5 13th at 5 under for the day, while moving up to T-5 alongside Hunter Mahan at 12 under. Howell, an Oklahoma State product, proceeds to hit a solid drive and reach the front collar of the green in two for an eagle try. He putts and misses, then sinks a short birdie effort to move to T-3 at 13 under – four back of leader Bubba Watson.

Playing in the same group, John Rollins reaches in two and makes his eagle putt to rise to T-17 at 8 under.

• • •

Update No. 16: 3:03 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson steadies himself with a par at No. 7 to hold even for the day with two holes to play. He's got three birdies and three bogeys during his round, as well as a lot of company: 18 players are even today.

• • •

Update No. 15: 2:56 p.m. EST

Let's take a look at the players in this week's field who are in the top 20 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

  • 8. Webb Simpson: 9 under, T-14; 3 under through nine holes today
  • 11. Phil Mickelson: 3 under, T-47, even par through 15 holes today
  • 13. Hideki Matsuyama: 13 under, T-3; 1 under through seven holes today
  • 15. Keegan Bradley: MC (66-80)
  • 16. Lee Westwood: MC (67-75)
  • 17. Bubba Watson: Leader, 17 under; 2 under through seven holes today
  • 18. Chris Kirk: 3 over, T-72; 3 over through eight holes today
  • 19. Hunter Mahan: 12 under, fifth; 1 under through eight holes today
  • 20. Graham DeLaet: 11 under, T-6; 2 under through nine holes today

• • •

Update No. 14: 2:34 p.m. EST

It's early, but leader Bubba Watson appears to have one man to beat in Kevin Stadler and is a shot ahead through six holes. Back-to-back bogeys have Pat Perez falling four strokes off the lead after he'd moved into contention on the strength of five birdies in his first six holes; he's T-3 alongside Hideki Matsuyama.

Phil Mickelson is back to even par for his round after bogeying No. 6. With three holes to play, he's T-47 at 3 under.

• • •

Update No. 13: 2:02 p.m. EST

Pat Perez, who came up just short last week at Torrey Pines in front of his hometown fans, is wowing the ASU-partial crowd here at TPC Scottsdale. Perez has five birdies on his first six holes Sunday to charge to 15 under and solo third. Two back of leader Bubba Watson, Perez is chasing his first win since 2009.

• • •

Update No. 12: 1:51 p.m. EST

Co-leaders Kevin Stadler and Bubba Watson continue their Sunday duel, both hitting close tee shots at the par-3 fourth. Stadler's putt just misses, while Watson makes and moves to 17 under – reclaiming the lead outright.

Phil Mickelson breaks a string of four straight pars with a birdie at the par-5 third hole to move to 4 under.

• • •

Update No. 11: 1:38 p.m. EST

Another Pat Perez birdie moves the Arizona State product to 14 under through five holes, just as co-leader Bubba Watson takes aim at an eagle try on the par-5 third; Watson comes up less than a foot short and he taps in for birdie. Co-leader Kevin Stadler just misses the third green in two but has a putt from the fringe for eagle that just slides by and he taps in for birdie as well. So the top three players on the leaderboard all gain a stroke, with Stadler and Watson at 16 under, two ahead of Perez. Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Moore and Brendan Steele are T-4 at 13 under.

• • •

Update No. 10: 1:18 p.m. EST

Here comes Kevin Stadler. He put third-round leader Bubba Watson on notice with a birdie to start their day, then followed with a second straight birdie to tie for the lead at 15 under.

And then there's Pat Perez, too. He's 3 under through four holes to pull within two of the lead, alone in third as things stand.

Phil Mickelson makes the turn at even par, then misses the fairway at No. 1 but scrambles to card his third straight par since a birdie that thrilled the crowd at 16.

• • •

Update No. 9: 1:01 p.m. EST

Leader Bubba Watson gets his day started with a par at No. 1 and the entire field is on the course. Kevin Stadler cuts Watson's lead in half with a birdie, however, moving to 14 under and two shots clear of Harris English, Hideki Matsuyama and Ryan Moore.

• • •

Update No. 8: 12:48 p.m. EST

Kevin Na is rising up the leaderboard, birdieing Nos. 2, 4 and 6 to get to 8 under and T-14. Na, of South Korea, won the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and has a pair of top-10 finishes this season.

Robert Garrigus, meanwhile, birdies the 16th to go with his earlier eagle at the par-5 13th (mobile readers can see the video here) and rise to 3 under for his round as well. Garrigus also went birdie-bogey at Nos. 11-12, so he's had a busy day indeed. Garrigus, from Scottsdale Community College, won the 2010 Children's Miracle Network Classic and has four top-30 finishes this season.

• • •

Update No. 7: 12:23 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson heads to the tunnel leading to the raucous par-3 16th on the heels of two straight bogeys. No matter: He sticks his tee shot inside 10 feet, thrilling the big crowd that gives a whole different meaning to the old term, "stadium golf." He drains the putt, exorcising the demons that accompanied his double bogey there a day earlier and gets back to even par for the day through seven holes.

• • •

Update No. 6: 12:12 p.m. EST

Webb Simpson earns one of the few birdies at No. 1 so far today, moving to 7 under and T-19 with five others. Simpson, a Wake Forest product, won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to begin his wraparound season in October and has yet to finish outside the top 25 this season in five starts.

Apparently he showed the way, with Charles Howell III and John Rollins following up and doing the same to move to 8 under, T-13.

Cameron Tringale starts with a pair of pars – then eagles the par-5 third holes to move to 8 under and T-13. His shot Saturday at the par-3 16th wowed that hole's famous gallery (or is it infamous?) and earned plenty of cheers as he tapped in for birdie (mobile readers can see the video here) en route to a 69.

Jason Bohn has the round of the day going so far, 3 under through four holes after a birdie at the par-4 13th. That moves him to T-28 at 6 under, still nine shots off the lead of Bubba Watson.

• • •

Update No. 5: 11:57 a.m. EST

Phil Mickelson gets his first birdie of the day at the par-5 13th, moving to 4 under and T-40. Surely it's not what the defending champ and Arizona State product had hoped for in front of a friendly gallery – but after his WD because of back pain last week, it's far from a failure as well.

MIckelson follows his birdie, however, with a bogey at the par-4 14th – three-putting from about 40 feet to drop back to T-44 at 3 under. So through five holes he's even for the day. And it won't be long until he makes his last pass of the week at the boisterous 16th-hole gallery.

• • •

Update No. 4: 11:42 a.m. EST

No. 10 has been a kind opening hole for several players already, with birdies from Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jason Bohn, Michael Thompson and Chris Smith.

• • •

Update No. 3: 11:33 a.m. EST

Geoff Ogilvy and Scott Piercy are making early moves at the Phoenix Open, each 2 under through three holes to rise to T-25 at 6 under.

Phil Mickelson cards his third par in as many holes, remaining 3 under for the week.

• • •

Update No. 2: 11:24 a.m. EST

Bubba Watson, who enters today's round with a two-shot lead and tees off at 12:45 p.m. EST, spoke at length yesterday about a shaky back nine en route to a 68, including a free drop he got after hitting a ball under a shrub.

"The fairway moved obviously, I didn't hit a bad shot," Watson quipped (mobile readers can see the interview here). "Right next to my ball was a burrowing-animal hole. And so my club was going to hit it at impact."

Watson had played the front in 3 under, but was even after the turn. He's chasing his first win since the 2012 Masters – and avoiding his old temper might have been a key.

"It was rough. But I held it together, stayed focused on what I was trying to do," he said. "Had a nice up-and-down on 17 for birdie. I made a silly mistake on 10, but then the other ones were bad swings but I somehow saved par on all those holes."

• • •

Update No. 1: 11:15 a.m. EST

Phil Mickelson has the first tee time of the day and starts with pars at the 10th and 11th, and heads to the 12th – which he bogeyed Thursday but has parred twice since.

• • •

Saturday's coverage

Bubba Watson's theme in 2014: To rejoice; leads in Scottsdale

Bubba Watson’s theme for the year is to rejoice in all circumstances. So when he found his ball laying under a bush on the 13th hole at TPC Scottsdale, he rejoiced in finding a burrowing hole there. He has a two-shot lead heading into the final round at the Phoenix Open.

No more fun on 16 for Phil Mickelson at Phoenix Open

Looks like Phil Mickelson’s football fun on the 16th hole is finished. Mickelson thought about playing quarterback for several holes leading up to No. 16 and completely lost focus leading to a double bogey.

How it happened: Watson leads by two at Phoenix Open

Bubba Watson and Matt Jones took control at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday, but it was Bubba Watson who took advantage of moving day at TPC Scottsdale. Watson (68) holds a two-shot lead heading into Sunday. Find out how it happened.

• • •

Friday's coverage

5 Things: Watson, M. Jones share WMPO lead; Bradley MCs

Bubba Watson and Matt Jones took control at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday, both moving to 12 under for the tournament behind impressive second rounds.

Tour Tracker: Watson, M. Jones tied at Phoenix Open

Bubba Watson (66) and Matt Jones (65) are tied for the lead after 36 holes at TPC Scottsdale at 12 under.

• • •

Thursday's coverage

5 Things: Watson, Yang lead as Mickelson feels OK

All eyes were on "Lefty," meaning Phil Mickelson, early. But it was Bubba Watson who showed left-handed excellence in moving to the top of the leaderboard Thursday at TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.) during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

• Tour Tracker: Watson grabs share of Phoenix lead

Phil Mickelson is back to defend his title despite an injured back, but Bubba Watson's afternoon 64 matched Y.E. Yang to tie for the lead, with a large pack one shot back.

• • •

Pre-tournament coverage

Mickelson: 'I feel fine,' ready to defend Phoenix title

Phil Mickelson arrived in Arizona on Wednesday to defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Chris Riley recognizes his shortcomings – and he's OK

Chris Riley successfully took on the 'whim' of a Monday qualifier at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open -- and his MC by a shot didn't change his contentment.

Notes: Packed Phoenix field; Day beats cold; Smith's return; more

From a packed field in Phoenix to Jason Day beating the cold with a Florida practice session to Chris Smith's return to the PGA Tour, Jim McCabe provides news and notes for the week.

ASU freshman Ki Taek Lee to make 1st PGA Tour start in Phoenix

Arizona State freshman Ki Taek Lee will make his first PGA Tour start at this week's Waste Managment Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, which is located less than a half hour from the Sun Devils' campus.

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