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Stallings grabs Greenbrier Classic title

 
 

Scott Stallings became the sixth rookie to win a PGA Tour event when he won the Greenbrier Classic, sinking a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Bob Estes and Bill Haas.

After watching Estes and Haas miss their birdie attempts when the trio replayed the 18th hole, Stallings curled in a 7-footer for his first victory on tour.

"To be a champion in such a great event is a huge blessing," Stallings said.

The 26-year-old Stallings started the day just one shot behind the leader but struggled early to card four bogeys on the front nine of his final round, but recovered to make six birdies on the back nine and make the playoff, where he earned a winner's check of just over $1 million, moved to 26th in the FedExCup standings and earned a spot in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

"I've wanted to do this since I was a little kid," Stallings said. "I was that little boy running around chasing autographs and yelling at guys because they wouldn't stop and sign my golf balls."

It marked the second straight week that a tournament was won in sudden death. Sean O'Hair beat Kris Blanks on the first playoff hole a week ago at the RBC Canadian Open.

In just its second year, the Greenbrier Classic produced another dramatic finish. Stuart Appleby shot 59 in last year's final round, including a birdie on the last hole to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke.

Haas earned his fourth top-10 finish of the season, while the 45-year-old Estes missed out on his first tour win since 2002 and fifth overall. Estes battled a wrist injury earlier this year and was playing in just his seventh tournament.

Player Score
Greenbrier Classic Leaderboard
Scott Stallings -10
Bill Haas -10
Bob Estes -10
Andres Romero -9
Brendon de Jonge -9
Cameron Tringale -9
Jimmy Walker -9
Gary Woodland -9
Kyle Stanley -8
Webb Simpson -8

 

Greenbrier Classic third round highlights

Greenbrier Classic third round review

Kim shot an 8-under-par 62 for a one-shot lead over PGA Tour rookie Scott Stallings after the third round of the Greenbrier Classic.

Kim's low round of the year left him at 10-under with a chance to advance to next week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a win. He hasn't missed Firestone since his rookie year in 2007.

A third place-or-better finish would put him in position to earn a spot in the PGA Championship in two weeks in Atlanta heading into the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.

"I haven't had this much fun playing golf in a long time," Kim said.

Stallings shot 66 to move into second place at 9 under. Gary Woodland (67) and second round co-leader Webb Simpson (69) were two strokes back.

Kim's last victory came a year ago at the Shell Houston Open before he underwent thumb surgery and took three months off. He's had an up-and-down year, with eight missed cuts and two top 10s in 21 events.

Kim tied for fifth at the British Open earlier this month after making it as an alternate. But last week he was disqualified from the RBC Canadian Open after signing for a score other than an 11-over 81 in the second round.

Kim credited a talk he had after the disqualification with his mother, whom he termed a "great golf psychologist."

"It was just about having fun, relaxing and enjoying the position I'm in because I'm very fortunate to be playing golf for a living," he said. "Sometimes you forget about that. I was pretty upset about my 81 and she noticed somebody in the gallery who was less fortunate. We talked about that and I came out here ready to play some golf and have a good time."

Greenbrier Classic second round highlights

Greenbrier Classic second round review

De Jonge shot a 3-under-par 67 in the second round of the Greenbrier Classic and was tied with Webb Simpson at 7 under halfway through the tournament.

Among those failing to advance to weekend play were Phil Mickelson, whose streak of making 17 straight cuts ended, and defending champion Stuart Appleby. Both finished 3 over, missing the cut by two strokes.

With shouts of encouragement all around him, de Jonge, a former Virginia Tech golfer, is flourishing for the second straight year at The Greenbrier Resort, less than two hours from his college stomping grounds.

"It's a little bit of adrenaline," de Jonge said. "Keeps you going. It's always a little pick-me-up if you're struggling a little bit. It's fun. It's nice to hear 'Go Hokies' on every tee."

De Jonge has played the Old White TPC course many times and he finished third in last year's inaugural tournament at 17 under. It was one of three third-place finishes in 2010 that helped him earn a career-best $2.2 million.

The native of Zimbabwe is the TOUR leader in birdies, yet admits he needs to work on eliminating the bogeys. His only one Friday was a three-putt on No. 11.

"I think the biggest thing is just getting out of my own way," de Jonge said. "It's very, very difficult to win out here. It's difficult to win anywhere. Staying in your own routine, I guess, is the best way to put it."

Greenbrier Classic first round highlights

Greenbrier Classic first round review

South African Trevor Immelman shot a 6-under 64, his best round of the year to take the first-round lead by one shot over five others at the Greenbrier Classic.

"I hope I'm close," Immelman said. "You never know with this game. It's been a frustrating couple of years not being able to swing the way I want to swing and practice the way I want to practice. For the most part this year, I've been able to get back to working on the things I used to work on back then.

"I'm definitely seeing signs of improvement. Albeit slow progress, it's been progress."

He is still trying to regain some form after wrist surgery that he had two years ago. Immelman began having trouble with his left wrist at the end of 2008. He had surgery in October 2009 and underwent several months of rehabilitation. The closest he's come to a top-10 finish in the past three seasons is a tie for 12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year.

Shooting 65s were Gary Woodland, Billy Mayfair, Derek Lamely, Webb Simpson and Australian Steven Bowditch.

The Old White TPC course underwent a makeover since Stuart Appleby shot 59 in the final round last year to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke. The renovations included lengthened tee boxes and reseeded greens that are less receptive to approach shots.

The course surrendered 81 under-par rounds on the first day last year; only 41 players broke par this year.

Player Score
Greenbrier Classic First Round Leaderboard
Trevor Immelman -6
Billy Mayfair -5
Derek Lamely -5
Webb Simpson -5
Steven Bowditch -5
Gary Woodland -5
Chris DiMarco -4
David Hearn -4
Brendon de Jonge -4
Kyle Stanley -4
 


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