Shortly after bout with illness, Steve Stricker gets major win at Regions Tradition
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Steve Stricker completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Regions Tradition, closing with a 3-under 69 for a five-stroke victory and his fourth PGA Tour Champions major title.
Stricker’s second Tradition win at Greystone Golf & Country Club came in his third event since returning from a six-month absence for health reasons.
“It’s been a long time,” the emotional Stricker said. “I hate crying, but where I was last November and even a couple of months ago — to come full-circle here, it means a lot.”
He had his 20th consecutive round under par on the Founder’s Course, finishing at 20-under 268 for his eighth victory over the 50-and-over tour.
Padraig Harrington finished second, birdieing the final two holes for a 68.
Steven Alker was in the group at 14 under after a 72. He has finished four straight tournaments in the top three, winning twice.
World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, who had his third 68 in four days, also was at 14 under with Rod Pampling (67), Stuart Appleby (69) and 2018 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez (70).
Stricker punctuated the win with a birdie from the bunker on 17 that put him at 20 under for the first time, receiving a congratulatory fist bump from Alker. It ended a string of 11 straight pars.
Stricker spent nearly two weeks in the hospital during his health scare and lost 25 pounds.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming out three weeks ago,” Stricker said. “I didn’t know if I could make it three weeks in a row.”
His wife, Nicki, served as his caddie.
Stricker, who led by at least two shots after each of the first three rounds, doubled his three-stroke lead over Alker within the first five holes. He nursed the lead home before the bunker birdie.
Stricker has finished all 10 rounds since his return inside the top 10, including a tie for second at the Insperity Invitational. It was his fourth straight year at Greystone finishing in the final group, including a win in 2019 and runners-up finishes in 2018 and 2021.
He lost on a playoff hole to Alex Cejka a year ago, but didn’t leave room for any drama at the end this time.