Kevin Stadler, son of the Walrus, is going for his first PGA Tour win, a victory that would secure a spot in the Masters and result in the first father-son duo to play in the tournament. Stadler opened his round with three straight birdies to quickly make a run at 54-hole leader Bubba Watson, and then he overtook the lefty with a two-shot swing on the ninth. Stadler managed to roll in his fourth birdie to complete an outward 31, while Watson carded bogey to drop a shot off the pace at 16-under.
It was all going smoothly for Stadler until he went wayward on the 11th hole and got tangled up in some of the local flora. Stadler's ball came to a stop in midair, a cactus plunging its needles into his Srixon and forcing the leader to drop. Here's a screenshot of the ball stuck above the ground in the cactus:
Kevin Stadler was leading the golf tourney but then his ball got stuck in midair...to a cactus pic.twitter.com/8hKeYeoVQl— Brendan (@BrendanPorath) February 2, 2014
Here's another angle, via Ryan Ballengee:
That's Kevin Stadler's ball, suspended midair thanks to a cactus. pic.twitter.com/TD1x33nS1w— Ryan Ballengee (@RyanBallengee) February 2, 2014
Stadler was told, because of the "dangerous" position, he did not have to reach in and grab the ball to drop. He decided to cut his losses and just leave the likely damaged ball in the cactus, dropping a new one and playing on from the desert lie. Making a double bogey is usually an adventure, but this was an entirely new way to post a crooked number.
If you're getting overwhelmed with Super Bowl pregame inanities, we might have a little bit of drama down the stretch at the Phoenix Open. Watson and Stadler, playing in the final group at TPC Scottsdale, have now shifted spots at the top of the leaderboard twice in the last hour.