PHOENIX — It was a banner day for Padraig Harrington, who backed up his Saturday 62 with a Sunday 65 to win the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Along the way, he broke a 10-year-old mark held by Tom Lehman and tied a 32-year-old record held by Jack Nicklaus.
Harrington won the tournament by seven shots over Alex Cejka and eight over Cup series champion Steven Alker.
Harrington’s 27 under total tied the mark set by Nicklaus in the 1990 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship. His total of 257 breaks Tom Lehman’s mark of 258, recorded at the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup Championship held that year at Desert Mountain Club (Cochise) in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Harrington started the final round with a five-shot lead but margin of victory wasn’t a factor in the points race. He only had an outside shot at winning the season-long title because he needed to win and also have Steven Alker finish outside the top five.
Alker, steady all week with scores of 65-64-68-68, finished solo third, more than enough to clinch his first championship.
Harrington’s Sunday was highlighted with a long putt from off the green on the par-3 15th hole. A huge smile crossed his face after his ball found the cup, which Alker fetched for him, and that got him to 26 under. An ensuing birdie on the par-3 16th hole got him to 27 under. He then parred the final hole.
Harrington had one of the only three eagles made the entire week (1st hole Saturday) and he only had two bogeys over 72 holes. His first full season on the Champions circuit also included a major at the U.S. Senior Open and more than $3 million in earnings.
Alker now has a second and a third in two appearances in the finale. Overall, he has five wins and 27 top-10s in his first 33 starts on the tour.
Cejka rode an eagle-birdie-birdie start to slide into second. His eagle on the par-5 opening hole was just the third eagle from the entire field; Thongchai Jaidee eagled the 18th on Friday. Cejka shot 63-65 over the weekend.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Janzen and Stephen Ames tied for fourth at 16 under. Retief Goosen was solo seventh at 15 under.
Seven days after earning his 44th PGA Tour Champions title, Bernhard Langer finished tied for 17th at 7 under. His 45th win will have to wait until at least January when the 2023 season starts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.
A look at the money
For winning the tournament, Harrington earned the first-place prize of $440,000. That brings his season total to $3,293,255.
Alker’s second-place finish is worth $250,000, bringing his 2022 total to $3,584,25. Alker’s career earnings on the senior circuit is now $4,730,632.
But wait, there’s more. Alker will also collect a $1 million bonus for winning the Schwab Cup series title. That will be paid out as a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account.
First place: $1,000,000