On one of the biggest sports days of the year, Titleist Brand Ambassador Kyle Stanley charged to a victory more than worthy of Super Bowl-sized acclaim.
One week after finishing runner-up in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open, Stanley, 24, came from eight shots back Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to earn his first PGA Tour victory, authoring a story of perseverance that golf won’t soon forget.
“I just tried to focus on playing golf,” said Stanley, who combined with Titleist Brand Ambassador Kieran Pratt and Pro V1x loyalist Paul Lawrie to sweep the three events played last weekend across the worldwide professional tours.
“I knew I was playing well coming into this week,” Stanley said. “I think the biggest challenge was seeing if I could put last week behind me. I think I did.”
Trusting a Pro V1x golf ball and bag full of Titleist equipment, including a new set of Titleist MB (712 Series) irons, Stanley closed with a bogey-free 6-under 65 for a 15-under 269 total and one-shot victory, leading a 1-through-7 finish for Titleist golf ball players.
Fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Crane (Pro V1x) finished runner-up after a final-round 5-under 66. He was followed by Spencer Levin (3rd, Pro V1x) and Titleist Brand Ambassadors D.J. Trahan (4th, Pro V1x), Brendan Steele (5th, Pro V1x) and Kevin Na (5th, Pro V1x), and Pro V1x loyalist Bubba Watson (5th).
A total of 92 players in the field at TPC Scottsdale relied Titleist golf balls for their success, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all competitors combined. Titleist was also first in irons sets (39); sand, lob and approach wedges (128); and putters (59).
Stanley’s victory in the desert was highlighted by both power and precision, not to mention some grit and determination.
At the par-5 13th, Stanley ripped a 376-yard tee shot with his 910 driver and hit his Titleist MB 9-iron to 20 feet to set up an eventual two-putt birdie. On the par-4 14th, he drove his Pro V1x golf ball 325 yards down the middle of the fairway, pitched to 12 feet and rolled in the birdie putt with his Scotty Cameron Timeless GSS.
On the par-4 17th, Stanley used his Vokey Design Spin Milled 56•14º wedge to hit a highlight-reel recovery shot from beneath a cactus (see video below), and two-putted for par. Stanley, who hit 89 percent of his greens in regulation Sunday, sent his approach shot on the par-4 18th to 12 feet above the hole. He two-putted for the one-shot victory.
“You know… this week I just kind of tried to just let it happen, not think about it, and just focus on things that I could control,” said Stanley.
Two weeks ago, Stanley paid a visit to the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., a short drive from Torrey Pines and the Farmers Insurance Open. There, he worked with Dr. Greg Rose on his alignment, getting himself squared up from what had become an open stance.
As a result of the realignment, Stanley lost some backspin with his Titleist 910D3 7.5º driver. Enter: Senior Club Fitting Analyst Dino Antenucci, who changed Stanley’s driver head from 7.5º to 8.5º, keeping the SureFit Tour hosel in the A•1 position (standard loft, standard lie).
Immediately, Stanley had a better ball flight, more shot-shaping control and about 2,400 rpm of backspin.