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Walrus II: Kevin Stadler records big win at Johnnie Walker Classic

American Kevin Stadler eagled the final hole to hold off the challenge from Australian Nick O'Hern and win the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Vines in Perth, Australia on Sunday.

Kevin Stadler
Kevin Stadler
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Kevin StadlerNick O'Hern
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Stadler, son of PGA Tour favorite Craig Stadler, shot a closing three-under-par 69 to top O'Hern by two shots. Needing a birdie on the final hole to secure his victory, Stadler played the hole brilliantly, leaving himself with a tap-in for the win.

The 26-year-old Stadler, who was given a sponsor's invitation to play the Johnnie Walker Classic, took home $490,000 with the victory, and left himself with some interesting options. Stadler does not have his PGA Tour card, and was set to play the season on the Nationwide Tour.

The victory in Australia, however, earned Stadler a two-year exemption from the Australasian, Asian and European Tours. Here is what Stadler and O'Hern had to say after the event.

Kevin Stadler

Question: Kevin, congratulations, Johnnie Walker Classic Champion 2006, and I think it's fair to say it was a classic way that you finished off.

KEVIN STADLER: Yeah, that was I don't know what happened there. It was obviously the best shot I hit all week. I wasn't sure if Nick had made birdie there on the last. I figured he had, I knew I needed to make at least 4.

Q: What did you take out of the bag?

STADLER: I hit 3 iron from 220 yards, so about 200 meters into the wind a little bit. Couldn't have been a better number for me, perfect number, perfect pin.

Q: So tell us your thoughts on this victory, because a few days ago, I don't suppose you could have anticipated sitting here today.

STADLER: No, not at all. (Laughing). Honestly, I'm kind of baffled by it. It was a great week. Except for those three holes today in the middle there, I felt like I had total control of my game and just really enjoyable. Really like the golf course and seemed to suit me well and it worked out.

Q. What were your thoughts at that stage where you had the three consecutive bogeys?

STADLER: Nothing much really. The wind was up and I just got some awkward positions. I actually holed a couple decent putts to save bogey those holes. I was really kind of spiraling. I still felt good. Felt like I was hitting pretty quality golf shots and had a couple loose ones there in the middle. I knew the holes coming up, I could get back on track if I could end that train there.

Q. Have you thought at all about what this means?

STADLER: I have no idea what the future's going to hold.

Q: Are you going to take up membership?

STADLER: I would imagine, yeah. I don't see any reason not to, even if I only play a couple of events. I don't know, I had planned on playing full Nationwide Tour, and to be honest with you I have no idea what I'm going to do.
I know there's plenty of spots that I would love to just go to see, let alone to go play on, that the European Tour makes stops on. Hopefully I can check out the schedule and see what's going on. I played a couple of years ago in Switzerland and had just a fantastic time. So even if I don't play the Tour, I'd like to be able to take advantage of it and go play a couple of tournaments here and there.

Q. So your prime reason to come into this week was to play the Nationwide Tour, will this distract you in any way?

STADLER: No. It obviously could never hurt. That is that was the main goal for this tournament was just to be ready for those two, which is kind of strange since this is a wonderful event and then kind of going down a little bit for the next couple, but were originally going to be very big on my schedule. The next two weeks were going to be a couple of bigger tournaments for me on the Nationwide Tour.

Just a great stroke of luck that they let me into the event here. And I really wanted to come and get some golf under my belt and get used to the time and the weather and everything. It's just worked out for the best.

Nick O'Hern

Q: I'm sure you're a little disappointed but great effort again.

NICK O'HERN: Yeah, I got off to a good start, 3 under through five, I played beautifully and then ran into a brick wall as far as the scoring went. Hit some good shots, and some ordinary ones, as well. And I kept getting up and down and that hung me in there even though I wasn't playing that well. With three holes to go, figured I would look at the board and I saw Kevin, I think he birdied the last three or threw in an eagle or something and had some really good chances. It's pleasing coming down the stretch finishing 17 and 18 with the shots that I did. Just couldn't play any better than that, and hit the putts I wanted. I thought that last one might make a bit of difference, but as it turned out, it didn't. It was a pleasing day.

Q. Did you play the last three holes more aggressively than you normally would?

O'HERN: Not really. The shots were there. All week I've been hitting the ball pretty well. 16, I pulled it a little bit, thought it was going to clear the water anyway. I was trying to use the slope on my left. I had a great chance for birdie there and hit a good putt.

Q. Three bogeys throughout the week for you must be pleasing?

O'HERN: Normally 18 under wins a golf tournament. It's pretty rare that it doesn't. You know, I figured probably at the start of the day, at least 20 under would be the mark. With so many guys around, probably won three or four shots of the lead I figured someone was going to go real low. As it turned out nobody did, I don't think. Although Rob Allenby, shot a great round.

Q. Where do you go from here?

O'HERN: I've got a week off next week and then I'm heading to the Match Play in America.

Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.

 
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