Steve Stricker hangs tough but there’s no stopping Steven Alker at 2022 Insperity Invitational

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Steve Stricker, in his first competitive round of golf in almost six months after being struck with an illness that remains a mystery, was trying to write a storybook ending to his week at The Woodlands outside Houston.

Stricker opened with a 67 to tie for the 2022 Insperity Invitational lead after 18 holes. He then backed that up with a 65 on Saturday to remain tied atop the leaderboard. He was tied for the lead halfway through Sunday’s round but couldn’t maintain the pace.

There was simply no stopping Steven Alker.

Alker birdied the second hole but otherwise had all pars on his front nine. After a nearly two-hour weather delay because of lightning, Alker came back charged up. He posted three straight birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13 and then eagled the 15th for the second day in a row.

He tacked on another birdie at No. 16 and that put him four ahead with three to go. He cruised home from there to shoot a final-round 66 to finish 18 under to earn his third PGA Tour Champions victory. Alker now has two wins and a tie for second in his last three starts. Since joining the senior circuit in August of 2021, Alker has 13 top-10s and nine top-5s in just 16 starts. He has also pushed his career earnings above the $2 million mark on the senior circuit.

Brandt Jobe closed with 70 to finish 14 under. Stricker, a 12-time PGA Tour winner and seven-time PGA Tour Champions winner, also shot a 70 to finish at 14 under. Alex Cejka nabbed solo fourth at 11 under. Retief Goosen and Ken Duke tied for fifth at 10 under. Bernhard Langer finished tied for eighth at 8 under. Defending Insperity champ Mike Weir tied for 17th at 5 under.

Next up is the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia.