Steven Alker Wins The 2023 Charles Schwab Cup Championship; Idle Steve Stricker Wins Season-Long Title
Steve Stricker’s 2023 PGA Champions Tour run was so dominant that he didn’t even have to compete in the three-event playoff to win the season-long championship and $1 million bonus.
Stricker was set for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix, but he decided to stay in Wisconsin after his father was hospitalized earlier this week. Fortunately for the family, he has since been released from the hospital.
His absence opened the door for the rest of the field, and 2022 PGA Champions Tour winner Steven Alker hung on to win the event. With the victory, he was runner-up in the season-long standings.
Alker had a six-shot lead, but Steven Ames and Ernie Els made things interesting. Alker also had to make a nice up-and-down on the par-5 18th to save par and win by one stroke.
“You know, just trying to get my swing together a little bit, it wasn’t quite there today, but the putt was huge (for birdie at No. 9) and just kind of settled me down,” said Alker, who won for the second time this year and seventh overall on this tour. “I hit a great tee shot on 10 and kind of felt good after that. I made it exciting here at 18, but that wasn’t the plan, I tell you.”
Els and Ames each shot a 65 to Alker’s 70. Ames finished with a 17-under 267 after birdieing the 18th hole. Els had a shot to tie Alker with a birdie, but his second shot was just short of the green and rolled into a pond. He would still par the hole but finished a stroke back.
“I had 208 to the front,” said Els, who finished third in the standings behind Stricker and Alker. “I can hit a 5-iron 205 in perfect conditions, so I had to get on it to get to the front. After you hit a cut swinging really hard, you’ve got to get out of the way quickly and I kind of got out of the way too quickly, kind of hung it out. I hit it solid, but too far right.”
Ames wound up with four wins this year, but some rough finishes left him in sixth in the final standings.
“I think overall it obviously is a good season,” Ames said. “Four wins in there, in my books I grade it as a B+ only because I thought it was a bit inconsistent. Last year was a lot more consistent where I had more opportunities to win. This year I didn’t have as many, but I still won four, which is nice.”
Stricker won six times, including three victories at majors, and added another five runner-up finishes in what was a dominant season for the 56-year-old.
“Yeah, I’m just having a ball,” Stricker said after one of his major wins earlier this year. “I’m enjoying the ride and you know, just hopefully continue.”
Back to this event, there was a four-way tie for fourth among Vijay Singh, Richard Green, Thongchai Jaidee, and Padraig Harrington. Jerry Kelly, Bernhard Langer, K.J. Choi, and Alex Cejka tied for eighth.
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