Craig Stadler Wins Another Tournament On Champions Tour
Sept. 2, 2004
Aloha, Ore. -
--from PGATour.comEven Craig Stadler was surprised that he spoiled Peter Jacobsen's party.Former USC golfer Stadler closed with four straight birdies and finished with a 5-under-par 67 for a one-shot victory at the JELD-WEN Tradition and his second major on the Champions Tour.He finished at 13-under 275, a stroke ahead of Jerry Pate (66) and Allen Doyle (71) at Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club. Jacobsen, the hometown favorite, was one of seven golfers at 11 under.Stadler, who started the round four stokes behind the leaders, had a difficult third shot from the rough on the par-5 18th, but hit his approach within 4 feet of the pin.He made the birdie putt to reach 13 under, and headed to the clubhouse to see if the lead would hold up against five others one shot back.'I guess it was fairly surprising at the end. You look at the board all through the day and it didn't look like I was in it,' Stadler said.Stadler said he didn't think he had a realistic chance until the 17th hole. He had been well back of the leaders with a 4-under 140 after the first two rounds.Jacobsen, a Portland native, missed a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 16 that would have given him the lead. After his putt lipped out, Jacobsen shook his head in disappointment and his large gallery sighed.At the par-4 17th, Jacobsen hit to the edge of the water hazard on the left -- then into the water with his next shot. He finished with a double-bogey and fell out of contention.Jacobsen said the missed putt on the 16th hole was characteristic of his day.Craig Stadler ranked first in Driving Distance at the event.'I hit six or seven putts today that looked like they were going in,' he said.Pate eagled the par-5 16th to take the lead at 14 under, a shot ahead of Vicente Fernandez, but fell back with bogeys on the final two holes. A Champions Tour rookie, Pate last won in 1982 at THE PLAYERS Championship.Stadler, who won the Ford Senior Players Championship and two other senior events last year, was named Rookie of the Year in 2003. He also became the first Champions Tour player to win a PGA TOUR event, taking the B.C. Open a week after his Ford victory.'Eighty of us come out here and all 80 of us don't want to spoil Peter's party,' Stadler said. He added with a smile that he'd still take the victory.He now has four Champions Tour victories to add to his 13 career PGA TOUR wins.Stadler had a double-eagle on Saturday when his 4-iron shot from 207 yards dropped on the par-5 No. 16 hole. He said it was the third of his career.'I've never seen a double-eagle or an eagle that hurts,' he laughed.The JELD-WEN Tradition spent 14 years in Arizona before Jacobsen lobbied to relocate it. But for the first Oregon event last year, Jacobsen was 49 -- too young for the Champions Tour.Jacobsen held the lead after the first two rounds and shared the lead with Fernandez going into Sunday. Earlier in the week he said that winning the JELD-WEN Tradition would be a 'dream come true.'Jacobsen bogeyed the first hole, missing an 18-inch putt for par. Fernandez birdied.Fernandez had played solidly throughout despite having trouble with neck and back pain. He received daily treatment but said he considered pulling out of the event midway through his round on Friday.As a rookie on the Champions Tour, Jacobsen has played in just four tour events after being slowed by hip surgery in April. But he already has one major, the U.S. Senior Open in St. Louis.He won the PGA TOUR's Greater Hartford Open last year, but chose not to defend his title in the newly named Buick Championship this weekend so he could compete in the JELD-WEN Tradition.Peter Jacobsen Productions, the golfer's sports management firm, runs the tournament sponsored by Oregon window and door maker JELD-WEN.Notes With his win, Craig Stadler earned a check for $345,000 and took over the lead in the year-long money race with $1,609,666 and now holds a $158,569 margin in that race over Hale Irwin. Stadler also earned 1,035 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race after triple points were awarded to a winner of a Champions Tour major championship. Stadler now trails Hale Irwin by 109 points. Irwin leads the Charles Schwab Cup race with 2,672 points, followed by Stadler (2,563), Tom Kite (1,969), Peter Jacobsen (1,785), Mark James (1,756) and Bruce Fleisher (1,670). Stadler now owns seven wins on the Champions Tour in just 30 starts dating back to his debut in June, 2003. It was also his second major title on the Champions Tour. He also won the 2003 Ford Senior Players Championship. It was also his third win this year. He won the ACE Group Classic in a playoff and also prevailed at the Bank of America Championship. Stadler certainly helped himself with his play on the critical par-5 holes on the back nine (Nos. 15, 16 & 18). He was a combined 11-under-par (he finished the event 13-under-par) on those holes and that included his double eagle on Saturday on No. 16. Stadler led all players in driving distance for the week at 284.8.