JACKSONVILLE (Fla.) — Steve Stricker kept his plan intact until the last hole. By then, it was irrelevant. He closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory in the Constellation Furyk & Friends, his fourth PGA Tour Champions title this year.
Stricker was three shots ahead, but he played conservatively at Timuquana County Club, a Donald Ross-designed course with crowned greens, trouble and all the trimmings.
He set a goal to score on the par 5, and he did so by birdieing all of them. He also wanted to avoid bogeys, and he almost made it. He led by three shots. He chunked an eight-iron just short of the green, pitched just above the back, and made his only bogey for the weekend.
He won for the third consecutive time at 14-under 200. Harrison Frazar tied for second place with a 65. This puts him in the PGA Tour Champions tournament next week in North Carolina.
Stricker understood that winning was entirely up for him if he followed the plan.
He said, I felt like if i could go around here without making a bogey and take care of all the par 5s – birdie 2 or 3 of them – shoot 3-under or 4-under par it was going to be a really special round to beat him.
Jim Furyk was the tournament host and he made four straight birdies on his back nine. He then rallied for a score of 69 to finish in third place, his best finish this year.
Stricker won $300,000. He is a solid No. Behind leader Steven Alker and Padraig Hrrington, Stricker was ranked 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup. There is only one tournament left before the PGA Tour Champions postseason. But it will take longer before Stricker returns.
He would rather be in a treestand with a bow during deer seasons, this is when he prefers to be. To move up in the standings, he set a goal to win at least twice in each of his three final events. With his job done, he stated that he would be considering playing in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship this November.
It wraps up a year that began in November with Stricker suffering a health scare that left him hospitalized for 11 days. His white blood cell levels spiked, his liver count dropped and inflammation around the heart caused it not to beat.
He returned in the final week of April, and six months later, he is leading the PGA Tour Champions with four victories.
Stricker stated that I didn’t know exactly what to expect coming this season at all, and its been lots of fun. It gave my perspective a new one last fall. Ive heard it many times, and its accurate. Im blessed to have the opportunity to play and do the things I love.