Austria is Bear Territory: Joël Stalter Wins for First Time on European PGA Tour

The 2014 Cal grad rallies in final round to win Euram Bank Open

It has been a nice couple of weeks for alumni of the Cal men’s golf program.

Last week, 2019 alumnus Collin Morikawa won the Workday Charity Open on the American PGA TOUR, captivating the golf world with a playoff win over former PGA champion Justin Thomas. On Sunday, it was 2014 alumnus Joël Stalter who turned heads halfway across the world. The Frenchman, who was an all-American and all-Pac-12 performer during his four-year career at Cal, rallied in the final round to win the Euram Bank Open at GC Adamstal in Ramsau, Austria. It was Stalter’s first European PGA Tour win in 43 starts since turning professional.

Stalter hoists the winner’s hardware. Photo credit: Getty Images via golfchannel.com

Stalter trailed 54-hole leader Robin Sciot-Siegrist by four strokes at the start of the day. But Sciot-Siegrist could not continue the momentum from his blistering 9-under 61 in the third round. Sciot-Siegrist stumbled to a final-round 75, opening the door for Stalter and other pursuers to catch him in the tough weather conditions.

Stalter took advantage of the opening, taking the lead with a birdie on the 10th hole as Sciot-Siegrist was making triple bogey at the 9th.

“I didn’t know I was in the lead, up to hole 13. From there, I played the blow thoroughly,” Stalter said. “I have the impression that this day was a tribute to the last years when I took a lot of slaps. I only fought and believed in it, to the end.”

Stalter bogeyed the 14th, but bounced back with a birdie on the very next hole to get back to 14-under. He made pars on the final three holes to finish with a 2-under 68, which gave him the clubhouse lead. No one left on the course could catch Stalter down the stretch, and Stalter’s score of 14-under par proved enough to win the tournament by two strokes over Englishman Richard Mansell.

Stalter was consistent on the GC Adamstal course during the week. He was one of only four players in the field to post four rounds under par. That consistency proved to be the difference on Sunday. Stalter started the final round tied for third, but reaped the benefits of everyone in front of him shooting rounds over par.

Stalter’s girlfriend, Flora, was his caddie for this week’s event and Stalter said she was instrumental in helping him capture the breakthrough victory on the European PGA Tour.

“She’s helped so much and kept me in the right mentality and on track the whole week,” Stalter said. “Instead of being by myself on a day like this, it was a tremendous help. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

In two starts since the European PGA Tour resumed its season after the suspension of the tour due to COVID-19, Stalter has posted a 15th place finish at the Austrian Open and now a victory in the Euram Bank Open. Those performances have elevated him to 65th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings for the season’s top European Tour golfer.