(Photo credit: Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Steve Stricker shot a final-round 66 to complete a wire-to-wire victory at the Sanford International, picking up his sixth victory of the PGA Tour Champions season on Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Stricker posted a 16-under 194 to successfully defend his 2022 title at Minnehaha Country Club. He beat K.J. Choi of South Korea by one stroke after bogeying the 54th and final hole of the week.
Choi made six birdies through his first 16 holes to draw neck-and-neck with Stricker. But trailing by one shot at the par-4 18th, Choi missed a par putt low for his only bogey of the day, leading to a final-round 65.
That gave Stricker a two-shot cushion, and he needed it after his approach into the 18th green was off target and rolled down a slope. After a lag putt, Stricker's par save came up just short, but it didn't matter.
"Kind of limped it in there at the last hole, but I knew I had a couple shots to play with," Stricker said on the Golf Channel broadcast. "It was a battle. Always on these Sundays, trying to win a golf tournament is a battle."
The highlight stretch for Stricker was the ninth through the 16th holes. He birdied No. 9 and eagled the par-5 12th before converting back-to-back birdies at Nos. 15 and 16.
"I knew the back (nine) was the area where you could score," Stricker said. "I had a nice birdie putt at 10 that I didn't make and I was kind of kicking myself, didn't birdie 11, but then that eagle at 12 kind of jump-started that back side.
"Again, it's a lot of fun. I didn't hit the shots like I wanted to at times and that's what keeps you grinding, keeps you working at it, trying to improve, but ultimately got it done, which is really cool."
Already a runaway leader in the Charles Schwab Cup race, Stricker is now approaching $4 million on the money list for the season.
Joe Durant shot 68 and took third place at 13 under. Germany's Bernhard Langer fired a bogey-free 64 that included an eagle 2 at the par-4 15th and finished fourth at 12 under.
Paul Stankowski (66) and Germany's Alex Cejka (68) tied for fifth at 11 under. John Daly (70) tied for seventh at 10 under with David Toms (71) and Englishman Paul Broadhurst (67).
--Field Level Media