Stadler's shot at 59 misses by six inches

Updated: May 14, 2005, 9:09 PM ET
Associated Press

MILTON, Fla. -- Craig Stadler shot a 10-under 60 on Saturday to match the Champions Tour and Blue Angels Classic records, leaving him two strokes behind second-round leader Jim Thorpe.

Stadler had a 27-foot putt on No. 18 for a 59, but the birdie try missed by 6 inches. He had 11 birdies and one bogey -- on the par-4 ninth -- in perfect scoring conditions on the 6,832-yard Moors Golf Club course.

"The hole looks about the size of this room," Stadler said.

Stadler became the sixth Champions Tour player to shoot a 60. Isao Aoki also had a 60 in his 1997 victory in the event, then the Emerald Coast Classic. Walter Morgan, Tom Purtzer, Bruce Fleisher and Thorpe also have shot 60s on the 50-and-over tour.

"It's an easy course to score on if you don't really have much pressure," Stadler said. "But once you start having to make birdies you make it a little tougher."

Stadler, a five-time winner last year, birdied five of the first seven holes and made the turn in 4 under after the bogey on No. 9. He then birdied Nos. 10-12, 14 and 16 and 17 before closing with the par on No. 18.

Thorpe, coming off a victory May 1 in the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Lakeway, Texas, shot a 64 for a 13-under 127 total. Morris Hatalsky (65) was a stroke back.

The other leaders were barely on the course when Stadler's score was posted.

"There was a negative and a positive," Thorpe said. "The negative was, 'Why the heck was he making all these birdies?' The positive was, 'Well, I know they're out there.' "

Thorpe got his share, finishing with seven birdies.

Curtis Strange had by far his best round in his first season on the tour, shooting a 62 for an 8-under 132 total. The two-time U.S. Open winner tied for fifth two weeks ago in Texas for his lone top-25 finish. He has broken 70 just three times in 19 rounds.

Pete Oakley had a hole-in-one on the 191-yard 12th hole, the first on the Champions Tour this year. He finished with a 67 and was 3 under overall.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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