PHOENIX Steven AlkerHe played on every tour that offered golf.
He began his professional career in New Zealand in 1989.
Alkers path was not straight and reached a pinnacle at the PGA Tour Champions where a late-career mulligan enabled him to transform himself from a journeyman into a champion.
Alker finished third behind the record-setting record with a 3-under 68. Padraig HarringtonSundays Charles Schwab Cup Championship is your chance to win the season-long Schwab Cup
Alker stated, Ive played wherever I think that kinda helped today, It has been an amazing journey, and just to have been here is amazing.
Harrington needed to win in order to claim the Charles Schwab Cup. Alker had not finished within the top five. The 51-year-old Irishman shot 65 in breezy conditions at Phoenix Country Club to win the title.
He finished at 27-under 257, breaking the PGA Tour Champions 72 hole record of 258. Tom LehmanAt the 2012 Schwab Cup Championship. He also matched. Jack NicklausAt the 1990 Kaulig Companies Championship, his record was 27 under.
Playing with Padraig was hard because, do I chase? Do I protect? Alker stated. I tried to play my best game. He was an amazing player and deserves to be champion.
Alker was five shots ahead of Harrington going into the final round. But, his concern about the Schwab Cup was with the players behind.
It got tight at the back nine.
Alex CejkaAlker was ahead of him on the front nine when he made an early move by opening eaglebirdie.
Alker made his first bogey in the tournament after his tee shot from the par-4 12th hole landed against a fairway bunkers lip. He also added another on the 13th hole par-3, dropping to 17 below.
Alker gave himself more cushion with a 15 foot birdie putt on No. 14 and added another at the 16th. The 51-year old Kiwi made a birdie putt at No. 18 on the lip to finish at 19 below and claim the Schwab Cup in the second season of the 50-and over tour.
Harrington stated, The pressure has been on him from the beginning of this year all the way through. He had a lead and many of us were keeping him in line all year. Its impressive that he didnt just hold on, but also won in style.
Cejka shot 65 and finished at 20 under. Janzen (66), Jimenez (66) and Ames (67), were tied for fourth at 16.
Alker was able to take part in the PGA Tour Champions. He had a long career that took him all over the globe, including three seasons on both the PGA Tour as well as two in Europe. His best year was 2014 when he earned $261 901 on the Korn Ferry Tour. He also reached his highest ranking at No. 191 in 2002.
Alker began his PGA Tour Champions career in August 2021 as a Monday qualifier at Boeing Classic. He finished in the top 10 and was awarded a place in the next weeks tournament. He continued to play, racking up four more top 10s and eventually securing a full card.
This season, he won five more times and earned more than $3.3 million.
Alker arrived in the desert having a lead of over 600,000 points on Harrington in the race to win the Schwab Cup. He played almost flawless golf the first three days. He was second to Harrington, who shot a 9under 62 in round three.
Harrington continued to make birdies and turned the front nine in 3-under 33. He added another at No. 12 and made a stunning 40-foot birdie starting from No. 15.
Harrington hit into the grandstand to the left of the par-5 18,th and, after a drop hit his pitch to 12 inches. He missed the putt, and the chance to break Nicklaus’ record.
Harrington stated that it was nice to have the Jack Nicklaus record. Kinda glad I didn’t beat him.
Alker didnt have a chance to catch Harrington but he didn’t need to. He continued to play his steady game and won the bigger trophy.