Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 2012 Champions Tour season had many of
the same players fighting for the top spot on the money list and Charles
Schwab Cup points race.
However, the middle of the season was taken over by a player that had lots of
success on the European Senior Tour, but not much success on this side of the
Roger Chapman won two majors in a span of six starts on the Champions Tour and
looked to be the runaway favorite for all sorts of awards. He cooled and
dropped to 13th on the money list, but still had a great season.
A year after ending 25th on the money list as he played through injury,
Bernhard Langer was back in form and battling Tom Lehman in the money and
Charles Schwab Cup races.
Let's look at who did what in 2012.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Tom Lehman
Eight players won twice in 2012 on the Champions Tour, but no one won three
times. With his two major championship wins, one could argue that Roger
Chapman was the player of the year.
However, that honor goes to Tom Lehman, who finished second on the money list,
but did something that no other player had done to this point.
The 1996 British Open champion smashed the scoring record at the season-ending
Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and in doing so, he repeated as champion in
the season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup.
Trailing Langer in the Schwab Cup race, Lehman knew he needed to win the
finale to top Langer in that race. And he did that in impressive fashion.
Lehman went 15-under par in the middle two rounds of the season-ending event.
That helped him win that title by six shots, while he smashed the tournament's
scoring record by a whopping eight strokes.
That win gave him his second straight Charles Schwab Cup title.
In one particularly hot stretch in the middle of the summer, Lehman ran off
eight top-10 finishes in a 10-event span. In that time, Lehman had a win and
three second-place finishes.
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR - U.S. Senior Open
In the top five at the end of the championship were three major champions on
the PGA Tour and four players that had won majors on the senior circuit.
For the second time this season, Roger Chapman came out on top at a major
championship. After opening with three 68s, Chapman closed with a 4-under 66
to win his second major of the year.
Both of Chapman's major victories came in the state of Michigan, and he said
after the second title that, "I wanted to prove to myself and to people that
Benton Harbor (Senior PGA Championship) wasn't a one-off event."
Chapman joined legends Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin as the fourth
man to win the Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open in the same season.
Among the players Chapman took down in the final round were - Fred Funk, who
has three senior majors to his credit; 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin;
1996 British Open champ, Tom Lehman, who also has three senior majors; and 2-
time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who won two senior majors in 2010.
Langer led by four entering the final round, but struggled to a 72 to drop
into a share of second place.
SHOT OF THE YEAR - Pavin's backhander
The shot of the year doesn't always lead to a win, but it usually has a part
in that player earning the trophy at the end of the week.
It was just the second event of the season, but Corey Pavin's back-hander in
the final round at the Allianz Championship helped him earn the title.
Pavin missed the green at the par-3 14th and his ball stopped in treacherous
hole and against a root. His choices were to play the shot back-handed or take
a drop, which likely would have led to a bogey.
The former U.S. Open champion flipped his 8-iron upside down and pitched onto
the green. He drained his par-saving putt and eventually got into a playoff
with Peter Senior.
Pavin birdied the first extra hole to win the title. Pavin stumbled to a bogey
at 17, while Senior birdied the last to match Pavin at 11-under par.
If Pavin hadn't made his stellar par-save at 14, he likely would have lost the
title in regulation to his playing partner.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Kirk Triplett
Knowing that his time on the Champions Tour was nearing, Kirk Triplett spent
much of his time in 2010 and 2011 on the Nationwide Tour.
Despite a bad year overall in 2011, Triplett did win the News Sentinel Open by
Triplett turned 50 in late March of this year and made his move to the senior
circuit, while the Nationwide Tour changed to the Web.com Tour.
Once on the elder circuit, Triplett did something that he hadn't done on the
PGA Tour since 2006 - win. He closed with a 66 at Pebble Beach to win the
Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Triplett took 19th on the money list this year thanks to his win and four
other top-10 finishes. He shared sixth at the Senior Players Championship and
finished no worse than tied for 33rd in the five majors.
Instead of cashing paychecks as a TV pitchman, Triplett has gotten back into
the swing of earning his paychecks on the golf course.
Langer - Led the tour in earnings, top-5s and top-10s. He was one of eight 2-
time winners this year, but also tallied five runner-up finishes.
Chapman - Best finish in his last six starts was a share of 20th, but Chapman
won two majors this season. That alone put him in select company.
Jay Don Blake - Along with Lehman, the only two men to finish in the top-5 on
the Champions Tour money list the last two years. Blake won once this season,
but didn't finish outside the top-16 in his last six starts.
Mark Calcavecchia - Has won once in each of the last two years and ended sixth
and second on the money list. Calc may have coughed up a few titles, but still
had 11 top-10s in 23 starts.
Joe Daley - He never won the PGA Tour, but did win on the then NIKE Tour and
Nationwide Tour. Thanks to four rounds in the 60s, Daley won the Senior
Players Championship by two strokes over Lehman. Not only did he earn his
first tour win, but he also did so at a major.
Bob Gilder - He posted the most starts on tour, 23, without earning a single
top-5 or top-10 finish.
John Cook - A year after winning three times in 2011, Cook was held without a
victory in 2012.
Tom Watson - Played in three of the five majors and finished no worse than
tied for 22nd in those three events, but only made three other starts due to
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