With Solid Play, Craig Stadler triumphed at Tucson
Craig Stadler scored an easy three-stroke victory in the final round of the Tucson Open…
”I’m just glad nobody within seven or eight shots decided to shoot a 63,”
said Stadler, who shot a one-over-par 71 in the final round. It was the fourth triumph of his seven-year tour career. Stadler completed 72 holes in 266 on the Randolph Municipal course. The victory was worth $54,000 from the total purse of $300,000, and gave Stadler a start toward a third consecutive $200,000-plus season. Stadler started the round, played in warm, sunny weather, with a seven-shot margin, built it to eight at one point and then, he said, ”eased off, kind of cruised.”
”My putting was terrible,” he said, ”but I hit it close enough.” Stadler was not threatened seriously at any time, and led by five or six shots most of the way. Just as he had done in two of his three previous victories, Stadler won this one as a front-runner, having pulled away from the field on earlier rounds of 65, 64 and 66. A Bit of Excitement
There was only one spot of drama, late in the day. Stadler bogeyed the 15th just as Vance Heafner scored his third consecutive birdie, a 10-footer, on the 17th. That cut Stadler’s lead from four shots to two. But Heafner could do no better than par on the last hole, and Stadler steadied himself with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th. That gave him a threestroke advantage with two holes to play.
”Realistically, everybody was playing for second,” said Heafner, who shared that position with John Mahaffey after a closing 64.