Craig Stadler Wins B.C. Open

July 23, 2003

Craig Stadler, by his own description, has been in la-la land the last two weeks.

The 50-year-old former USC great became the first Champions Tour player to win a PGA TOUR event with his victory last Sunday at the B.C. Open.

'I was just kind of waiting until I turned 50 to see what would happen,' said Stadler, whose eight-shot, come-from-behind win is the best on the PGA TOUR this year and the best in B.C. Open history. 'And all of a sudden I learned how to play again.

'It's the magical number. Get a good bottle of wine, turn 50 and you start playing well.'

Stadler became the first player 50 or older to win on TOUR since Art Wall won the 1975 Greater Milwaukee Open at 51 years old.

Stadler has played exceptionally well since hitting the half-century mark June 2. The man affectionately known as 'The Walrus' hasn't finished lower than 18th in any of his Champions Tour starts, and in his three majors on the circuit he has finished tied for 15th, tied for 10th and first.

Next up for Stadler is a trip to Europe and the Senior British Open, the fourth of five Champions Tour majors. The 1982 Masters champ has a reasonable comfort level across the pond where he earned two of his four international victories -- the 1985 Canon European Masters and the 1990 Scandinavian Enterprise Open.

Stadler's eager to add a Senior British Open title to the Ford Senior Players Championship crown he won earlier this month. Earning a second major title on the PGA TOUR never happened, though Stadler had several chances during his prime.

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