Steve Stricker Secures Sixth Victory on PGA Tour Champions
September 17, 2023 – Sioux Falls, S.D.
In a thrilling finish at the Sanford International, Steve Stricker holed a 20-foot eagle putt to catch K.J. Choi and ultimately clinched a win with a 4-under 66 in the final round. This marked Stricker’s sixth victory of the year on the PGA Tour Champions and earned him $300,000, leaving him just shy of a record-breaking $4 million for the season on the 50-and-older circuit.
Throughout the year, Stricker has been on an incredible run, consistently finishing in the top eight in every tournament. Notably, three of his six wins have come in major championships on the senior circuit, further solidifying his dominance in this arena. The Sanford International title, which Stricker claimed for the third time, added to his impressive collection.
“It was a battle,” Stricker admitted. “Always on these Sundays when you’re trying to win, it’s a battle. But it’s so rewarding when you do it.”
Starting the final round with a one-shot lead, Stricker found himself trailing Choi, who displayed a strong performance and closed with a 65. However, Stricker’s strategic play enabled him to catch up and secure the victory. A pivotal moment came on the par-5 12th hole when Stricker executed a fantastic tee shot, setting up an opportunity for an eagle putt from 20 feet. He capitalized on this chance and gained momentum.
On the 15th hole, Stricker faced a demanding situation after finding a bunker off the tee. However, he remained composed and achieved an outstanding birdie by getting up and down. This crucial shot elevated him to a one-shot lead, intensifying the competition.
Although Stricker faced another challenging par-5 on the 16th, he showcased his resilience. Despite an errant tee shot requiring a lay-up, he displayed an impeccable wedge shot, landing it within 8 feet of the hole and sinking the birdie putt to maintain his slender advantage. Choi, playing in the previous group, unfortunately bogeyed the last hole, widening Stricker’s lead and giving him a level of comfort.
In a slightly nerve-racking conclusion, Stricker three-putted the 18th hole from a long range but still managed to finish at 16-under 194.
“I kind of limped it in,” Stricker humbly admitted. “But I knew I had a couple of shots to play with.”
K.J. Choi, aiming for his second victory on the PGA Tour Champions, put up a commendable performance with a front-nine score of 30. Placing second, Choi impressively maintained a bogey-free round until the final hole.
Joe Durant showed his mettle by birdying the last three holes, securing a commendable third-place finish with a 68. Following closely behind, Bernhard Langer shot a remarkable 64, earning sole possession of fourth place.
With three wins remaining to match the record for the most titles in a single season, Stricker currently holds more than a $2 million lead in the Charles Schwab Cup rankings on the PGA Tour Champions.
Steve Stricker’s triumph at the Sanford International cements his status as one of the most successful players on the senior circuit. As the season draws to a close, golf fans eagerly anticipate the remaining tournaments where Stricker will undoubtedly strive to secure his position in history.