by Bill Turner
PGA TOUR rookie Scott Stallings captured the moment Sunday afternoon at the second Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
The 26-year-old rookie rolled in a six foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to send the throng packed around the par-three eighteenth at The Old White TPC into a frenzy.
As the ball slid into the middle of the cup with authority, Stallings threw his putter into the air before celebrating the $ 1.08 million first prize with his caddy, Josh Graham.
Only 30 minutes earlier, Stallings had sunk a similar putt on the same 72nd finishing hole to put him in a three-way playoff with Bob Estes and Bill Haas. The three finished with a 4-day total of 270 (ten under par).
The beefed-up Old White quietly took down this year’s challengers. The winning score was 12 shots higher than last year’s 22-under total. Phil Mickelson, a 4-time major winner with 39 Tour wins, and eight-time major winner Tom Watson, both missed the cut. Likewise for defending champ Stuart Appleby, who carved up The Old White last year with a final-round 59.
Sunday’s round provided plenty of excitement for the huge gallery. Twenty five players finished at or within 5 shots of the winning 210 total. Greenbrier owner Jim Justice announced at the trophy presentation the attendance for the week-long golf tournament had totalled 213,000.
The Greenbrier Classic concert series, including Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and the Black Eyed Peas, drew huge crowds to the fairgrounds in nearby Lewisburg. Friday night’s attendance for The Black Eyed Peas was estimated by Greenbrier officials to be 56,000.