Stadler Chosen Champions Tour POY

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Champions TourPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Craig Stadler was named the Champions Tour Player of the Year by a vote of his peers on Sunday, meaning the 51-year-old has garnered high-profile awards in his first two seasons on the elder circuit.
 
Craig StadlerStadler was named Rookie of the Year on the 50-and-over tour last year with three wins, including the Senior Players Championship. Stadler also became the first Champions Tour player to win on the PGA Tour when he captured the 2003 B.C. Open.
 
In 2004, Stadler opened with a tie for third place at the season-opening MasterCard Championship, then defeated Gary Koch and Tom Watson to win The ACE Group Classic.
 
Stadler took third place at the Senior PGA Championship, then returned to the winner's circle at the Bank Of America Championship. He tied for seventh at the U.S. Senior Open, but captured the next major, the JELD-WEN Tradition.
 
His second major title spurred a great run of golf for the 1982 Masters champion. Stadler won his next two starts, The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and the SAS Championship.
 
The Walrus closed the season with a tie for seventh at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Stadler lost the season-long Charles Schwab Cup by 39 points to Hale Irwin, then was part of the victorious United States UBS Cup team.
 
Stadler tallied five wins in 2004, the most on the Champions Tour since Larry Nelson won five times in 2001. Stadler led the money list with $2,306,066 in earnings.
 
The money list was not the only statistic Stadler found himself leading at the end of the year. He finished first in scoring average (69.30), birdie average and eagles.
 
Stadler finished third in putting average on the Champions Tour, fourth in greens in regulation, seventh in driving distance and 37th in driving accuracy.
 
'Given the ever-increasing competitive environment on the Champions Tour, Craig Stadlers 2004 accomplishments are quite impressive,' said Champions Tour president Rick George.
 
Irwin was the only other player on the ballot for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy.
 
Mark McNulty, a native of Zimbabwe, won the Rookie of the Year honors, the first foreign-born player to win the award since South African John Bland in 1996.
 
McNulty, who missed most of two months in the late summer with back problems, captured three wins in 2004, the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and back-to-back, season-ending titles at the SBC Championship and Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
 
He became the first foreign-born player to win three times in a season since David Graham in 1997 and McNulty's $1,423,048 in earnings were the most by a first-year player since Bob Gilder in 2001.
 
Peter Jacobsen, who walked 36 holes on Sunday to capture the U.S. Senior Open, Mark James, the Senior Players Champion, and Jerry Pate, who finished as a runner-up twice, were also up for consideration.