Oakland University Golf and Managing Director Bill Rogers and Frank Giglio, Lucido-Morris Wealth Management (Hall of Honor sponsor) induct Stuard into the Oakland Golden Grizzlies Hollie L. Lepley Hall of Honor in April 2016.


Fall 2016

|  by Fritz Reznor

Stuard Notches First PGA Tour Win

Rain-shortened playoff win follows Oakland Hall of Honor induction

New Orleans will always be a special place for professional golfer and Oakland University alumnus Brian Stuard, SBA ’05.

Six miles southwest of the French Quarter at the TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Stuard, 33, notched his first PGA Tour win on the second playoff hole of a rain-shortened Zurich Classic.

There was nothing placid about Stuard’s May 2 win. Despite holding a one-stroke lead entering the final round over a field that included top-ranked players like Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, he needed to hole a nine-foot birdie putt on the par 5 18th hole on the final day to tie Byeong-Hun An and Jamie Lovemark at 15-under par.

‘It just all came together.’

Using a new Odyssey Works Marxman Fang Tank putter that he had added to his bag the previous week at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Stuard made the crucial putt, forcing a three-man, sudden-death playoff.

“Making that birdie on the last hole to get into the playoff really gave me a bit of a boost ... just knowing that I could do it when I really need to,” Stuard said. “The week before, I was messing around with some Odyssey putters on the putting green at San Antonio. I hit some good putts that week, and it carried over to (the win) in New Orleans.

“In the playoff, I just kind of stuck to what I’d been doing all week: hit it to the right spot and make some putts, and it just all came together and everything worked out.”

Headed for Augusta

An was eliminated after he bogied the first playoff hole, No. 18, while Stuard and Lovemark both made par. On the second playoff hole, also No. 18, Stuard hit his third shot from 171 yards out to within 3 feet of the pin and sank his birdie putt. He made an incredible 44 of 44 putts inside 10 feet on the weekend — besting Lovemark’s par for the win and the $1.26-million first prize.

The victory landed Stuard his fourth major tournament — a spot in the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey — and the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia next April. “That’s pretty exciting,” he said. “I’ve never played in it, so that will be a lot of fun.”

More important, the win gives Stuard a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. A regular for four of the past five years who earned more than $5.5 million in career prize money, Stuard finished just outside of the top 125 money winners in 2015, and was not among the exempt players this year.

“I didn’t have a great year last year,” he admitted, despite earning more than $680,000 in 2015, “so I had ‘conditional status’ this year and wasn’t getting into all the tournaments. It’s kind of hard to play that way.

“To win and not have to worry about that for the next couple of years is a pretty big weight lifted from your shoulders. It’s hard to put into words, but it means a lot.”

Oakland University Honoree

The win came two weeks to the day after Stuard was at Detroit’s Fox Theatre at a ceremony being honored as one of Oakland’s 2016 inductees into the Athletics Hollie L. Lepley Hall of Honor.

“I was thinking of all the great athletes from Oakland and to be included in that is a really special feeling,” said Stuard, who lives in Ft. Worth, Texas. “The weekend was amazing; the evening at the Fox Theatre is something that I’ll never forget. It’s a pretty awesome thing they’ve got, honoring some former student-athletes along with the current student-athletes.”

He added, “It’s very humbling. I feel very proud to be associated with everybody from Oakland University.”