Kyle Stanley entered the 2008 Southern Amateur ranked as the No. 3 amateur in the country, and proved his mettle with an impressive, 8-stroke comeback over the final 36 holes to force a three-man playoff.
It was in that playoff that Stanley showed a flair for the dramatic, sinking a 35-foot birdie putt to win the championship and join the list of two-time winners that includes Bobby Jones, Lanny Wadkins, Vinny Giles and Justin Leonard.
Stanley didn't advance as far as he would have liked at the U.S. Amateur, losing in the second round to David McDaniel of Tucson, in a match that went down to the Olympic Club's famous 18th hole.
His resume of prior accomplishments did not, however, go unnoticed by USA Captain Buddy Marucci.
In 2006, Stanley won the Southern Amateur in Birmingham, Alabama. That victory is just one part of a resume that includes five top-10 finishes in highly regarded amateur events over the past two summers. In winning the Southern Amateur, he posted a 9-under-par total of 275 for 72 holes to win by a single stroke.
He was individual runner-up (to fellow Walker Cup team member Jamie Lovemark) at the 2007 NCAA Championship, where he had a 65 in the third round. He was invited to play in the PGA Tour’s 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, where he missed the cut of 143 after posting rounds of 75-74=149.
Stanley, a junior year at Clemson University, played in his first Walker Cup in 2007, then made it into the field at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.