GOLF; FLEETBOSTON CLASSIC; NOTEBOOK; Stadler out to prolong hot

GOLF; FLEETBOSTON CLASSIC; NOTEBOOK; Stadler out to prolong hot

Joe Gordon

CONCORD – The burdens of being a 50-year-old rookie were evident yesterday for Craig Stadler when he got lost trying to find his way from his hotel in Waltham to his first appearance at Nashawtuc Country Club.

Stadler, here for his first FleetBoston Classic, arrived about a half hour before his scheduled start of the afternoon pro-am.

The “Walrus” hasn’t had much trouble on the course this summer.

He spent last week playing in the British Senior Open, where he finished 19th after making golf history the previous two weeks.

He became the first player over the age of 50 ever to win an event on the Champions Tour (Senior Players Championship) and the regular tour (BC Open) in the same year. He won them back-to-back earlier this month.

“They were two completely different wins. I think I was more proud at the Ford Seniors because three of us (Stadler, Tom Watson and Mike McCullough) were tied (going into) Sunday and instead of having someone fall apart, I went out and won it with a 66,” Stadler said when asked which win he thought was more impressive.

“I never really considered winning the BC Open being 8 shots back on a pretty easy course. With 4-5 holes left, I still had no clue I was even going to be close.”

He shot 63 with a birdie on his last hole and won by a shot over Steve Lowery and Alex Cejka. Stadler credited his hot putter.

“It’s the same old thing. When you putt well, you score well,” Stadler said. “For a couple of weeks I putted well. I have been playing well. I just hadn’t been putting consistently well, but it wasn’t bad.”

When asked about the significance of his two-tour feat, Stadler wasn’t exactly overwhelmed.

“I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be able to do it. I certainly didn’t think about it. I didn’t know about it.”

D.A. back on the case

D.A. Weibring won the 1996 Greater Hartford Open while suffering from the debilitating effects of Bell’s Palsy. Having turned 50 in May, Weibring is here playing in his fifth Champions Tour event.

He reports the illness has pretty much run its course, but he has vivid memories of its onset.

“In 1996 after the western swing (on the regular tour) I was coaching my girl’s basketball team and I remember being in the huddle and the voices seeming very loud in my ears,” said Weibring, coming off a fifth-place finish Sunday in the British Senior Open, his first top-10 on this tour.

“I went home and showered and shaved and noticed the right side of my face was swollen. The next morning I got up and that side of my face was paralyzed. I thought I was having a stroke. I went to a doctor and he told me right away it was Bell’s Palsy.”

It got so bad that Weibring, who won five times on the PGA Tour, had to tape his right eyelid shut at night to get to sleep. He was on a steroid for seven weeks that affected his ability to sleep, but he persevered and won the GHO.

Nelson withdraws

Two-time FleetBoston Classic winner Larry Nelson withdrew yesterday with a hip problem and was replaced by Ted Goin. Goin has earned $84,435 in 13 Champions Tour events, with his best finish a tie for 18th at the SBC Classic.

Earlier in the week, alternate John Schroeder got in for Andy Bean, who injured a groin muscle. . . .

Keith Lyford, a noted teacher at Harmon Golf in Rockland, was the medalist (69) in Monday’s qualifying round for three spots. Frank Conner (70) and R.W. Eaks (71) also qualified on Monday.

Caption: TWO GOOD: Craig Stadler chats with Chi Chi Rodriguez during yesterday’s pro-am at Nashawtuc. Staff photo by Kevin Martin

Copyright 2003

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