Stockton was born in San Bernardino, California. He attended the University of Southern California and turned professional in 1964. His first PGA Tour win came at the 1967 Colonial National Invitation. He was selected by former Colonial champions as one of two Champion's Choice invitations; he is the only Champion's Choice invitee to win the Colonial in the year of the invitation. His best year was 1974, when he won three times, but his two majors, both of which were PGA Championships, came in 1970 and 1976. In 1970 he played the final round with Arnold Palmer, shooting a seventy-three which included an eagle and a double-bogey on the seventh and the eighth holes, and making a bogey on the thirteenth despite putting a ball in the water. In the end, this effort was good enough for a two stroke victory over Palmer and Bob Murphy. Due to rain at the 1976 PGA Championship, which was held at the Congressional Country Club, the final round had to be delayed until Monday. Stockton sank a fifteen-foot par putt at the seventy-second hole to avoid a three-man playoff with Raymond Floyd and Don January.
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