Alker, Dawson co-lead Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Alker, Dawson co-lead Charles Schwab Cup Championship
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PHOENIX — Steven Alker and Marco Dawson each made birdie on the par-5 18th hole Friday and each posted a 7-under 64 to share the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

The final PGA Tour Champions event of the year is missing Steve Stricker, who already has clinched the Schwab Cup and its $1 million bonus. Stricker stayed home in Wisconsin to be with his father, who was hospitalized earlier in the week.

Still at stake is a trophy and a $528,000 payoff, one of the largest winner’s check on the year for the 50-and-older circuit.

Runner-up in the Schwab Cup points list gets a $500,000 bonus, and Alker and Padraig Harrington are among those who have a chance to win that.

Alker and Dawson were at 11-under 131.

Harrington, the defending champion at Phoenix Country Club, had a 63 and was one shot behind along with Alex Cejka (64), Harrison Frazar (67) and Thongchai Jaidee (67).

Dawson was only surprised to share the lead because he said he’s been dealing with muscular pain in the chest area that hurt when he swings.

“So I’m just trying to get through the day,” Dawson said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make three holes yesterday it was hurting so bad and I just kept on going and going, it was OK, OK. So I think maybe that’s one of the reasons why I’m scoring well, because I’m not focused on my game. I’m just trying to stay out there and play and make sure I get around.”

Harrington started out six shots behind and made enough birdies to get in range.

“I was thankful that this is a 72-hole tournament,” Harrington said. “When I tweeted that out, I also meant that I better get back in it quick.”

Ernie Els, who started out with a two-shot lead after opening with a 63, could only manage a 70. But he still was only two shots behind.

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