Steven Alker uses late birdie streak to win Schwab Cup opener

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RICHMOND, Va. — Steven AlkerHe stated that he does not look at the leaderboard when in contention.

The New Zealand golfer did not look at the board at 15th hole and then put together the surge that left him alone on top.

Alker birdied three consecutive holes to break a late tie for the lead with four other players. He also won the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, which was the opening event in The Charles Schwab Cup on The PGA Tour Champions.

Alker said, It seemed like a dogfight at the end. I tried not to look at this leaderboard because there were so many guys trying to win this tournament.

Alker, who began the tournament as the Schwab Cup lead in the three-event seasons final, made birdies at Nos. 15, 16 and 17 were beat K.J. ChoiFor his fourth win of the season, he won by one shot. This ties Steve StrickerFor the best tour deals this season,

Alker said that it was a birdie at 10th hole par-4 that put him in a winning mindset. Kelly, also in the group, made bogey at the hole and fell into a tie.

Alker stated, So that kinda changed my mindset a bit. So just get through them and then, youll be able to sprint to the finish, Alker said.

Drawing even helped him get 1 over the three last holes on the front 9 behind him.

Alker said, Maybe just kinda freed me up, you know? Just kinda relaxed a bit because I just had struggles on kinda seven, eight and nine. It just wasnt happening, and then hit a high quality shot on 10, and to be tied. I wasnt chasing any more.

Kelly, who led after both rounds on the James River Course of the Country Club of Virginia had the lead until the par-4 15,th hole. A slight drizzle and temperatures around 60 made the conditions more difficult and Kellys birdie attempt was stopped at the edge of his cup. Alker and Kelly are the playing partners. Padraig HarringtonThey made their putts to pull even at twelve under. Choi got to twelve under moments later in the grouping ahead.

Kelly stated, Im not strong in those conditions right at the moment. And, youll be able to see, he played very well in those conditions. Could have done better. You never know what might have happened if the weather had stayed the same.

Alker said that it reminded of home, which was perfectly fine.

It was almost like New Zealand weather. He said that it was overcast with a little drizzle and that we are just waiting for the fog. I would have felt right at home.

Alker added birdies to the par-5 16th hole and the par-3 17th hole, then closed with a tap in par on the 18th par-5, raising his arms in triumph. Chois closing birdie was good enough for a runner up finish.

Kelly closed with an even-par 72. Harrington (69), and Doug Barron(69) Shared third, two shots behind, Ernie Els(67) Brian Gay(69) sharing sixth. Els was one back after birdie at the par-4 11, but finished with seven consecutive pars.

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