Former Golden Eagle Scott Stallings battling Sunday for first PGA Tour title
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Watch replay of Scott's hole-in-one
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- A hole-in-one on the eighth hole and five birdies on the back nine have helped vault former Tennessee Tech golfer Scott Stallings into the spotlight heading into Sunday's final round of the Transitions Championship, this week's PGA Tour stop at the tough Copperhead Golf Course at Innisbrook Resort.
Stallings is just two strokes behind leader Justin Rose, and one
behind Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson. After opening the
tournament Thursday with a 66 and adding a 70 on Friday to make the
cut, Stallings carded another 66 Saturday to put him into position
to claim the highest finish of his PGA career.
NOTE: Sunday's final round will be televised live on NBC TV beginning at 2 p.m. Live coverage of Sunday's round will also be shown on The Golf Channel starting at noon. Saturday's third round is scheduled to be replayed Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on The Golf Channel.
Stallings' hole-in-one came with a six-iron on the 214-yard eighth hole, and was tabbed the "Shot-of-the-Day" at the tournament.
Rose (70-65-65) heads into Sunday's final round with a score of
200, while deJonge (69-66-66) and Simpson (67-67-67) are at 201.
Stallings and Gary Woodland are tied at 202, with four players tied
one behind them.
Through 27 holes, Stallings has 17 birdies, 28 pars and just eoght bogeys in addition to his ace on Saturday. He has averaged 274.3 yards on his drives, and ranks second in the tournament in putting.
The transitions Championship features a total purse of $5.5 million, with the winner toting home $990,000.
Stallings is scheduled for a 1:45 p.m. tee time Sunday, paired with Webb Simpson. The final twosome will include Rose and deJong at 1:55 p.m.
The surprise is Stallings.
He missed every cut on the West Coast Swing and finally earned a paycheck last week -- just over $11,000 -- when he tied for 42nd in the Puerto Rico Open. His round featured a hole-in-one on No. 8, the third-toughest hole at Innisbrook, and he followed that with five birdies on the back nine.
Stallings received a sponsor's exemption, mainly because he and Kenny Perry have the same agent, and Perry has an endorsement relationship with the title sponsor. It was a great break for a guy who has low status in his rookie year, and he's running with it.
"I was surprisingly relaxed," Stallings said. "I knew that I had
nothing to lose. It was basically play well this week, and take
advantage of the opportunity or if I didn't play well, I was going
to sit back and wait until I got in toward after the U.S. Open,
because that's when the tournaments would start opening up and the
fields would get a little bigger."
A story from the PGA Tour Report:
Stallings has an old pro for help
Rookie Scott Stallings will have a late tee time on Sunday for the first time in his young PGA TOUR career, and he’ll have a seasoned pro to ask for advice.
Kenny Perry has befriended Stallings this year, and the two played a practice round together on Tuesday. Perry was hanging around the Tampa area despite missing the cut; he stayed in town to catch the Kentucky-West Virginia game.
"[Perry] was nothing but encouraging, took me under his wing a
little bit and showed me around," Stallings said. "Grateful to have
a guy like that that’s been around here as long as I’ve
been alive. He’s helped me out a bunch."
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