Stricker wins PGA Memorial title
DUBLIN (OHIO) STEVE Stricker fired a fourunder par 68 to win the $6.2 million US PGA Memorial tournament Sunday, advancing to fourth in the world rankings to become the top-rated American for the first time.
Stricker, a 44-year-old twotime US PGA Comeback Player of the Year who has won seven of titles since turning 40, struggled over the final holes after a long rain delay, stumbling with a bogey at the finish to win by one shot.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Stricker said.
“I hit a couple great putts when I had to.
It was a little bit of a struggle once we came out after the rain delay.
At that point I’m just trying not to make a mistake.” Stricker captured a $1.116 million top prize and his 10th US PGA crown, his first since defending a title at last July’s John Deere Classic, with a 72- hole total of 16-under par 272 at the event hosted by legend Jack Nicklaus.
“It’s a special win,” Stricker said.
“It’s truly an honour.” Americans Brandt Jobe and Matt Kuchar each fired finalround 65s to share second on 273, three strokes ahead of fourth-place countryman Dustin Johnson with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in fifth on 277 after a closing 68.
The event was, for many players, the last tune-up event before the US Open, which begins on June 16 at Congressional Country Club near Washington.
I’m playing better and better,” Kuchar said.
“I’m real excited about Congressional coming up.” Stricker won his first career title at the 1996 Kemper Open, played across the street from Congressional, where he will be among a host of favourites in the second major championship of the year.
Despite a bogey at the par-5 15th, Stricker led by two strokes with two holes remaining.
He found a greenside bunker at the par-4 17th but chipped out and sank a sevenfoot par putt to keep his margin intact on the 18th tee.
Needing only a bogey to win the title, Stricker put his tee shot in a fairway bunker 187 yards from the green and sent his approach into greenside rough before chipping to 15 feet.
He missed the par putt but tapped in for victory.
Stricker, who led by three strokes after 54 holes, opened his final round with a pair of birdies, added another at the par-5 fifth and finished the front nine with three birdies in a row.
Jobe made seven birdies in eight holes starting at the par-3 fourth to leap into the hunt while Kuchar birdied five of six holes starting at the third and hit another at the par-5 11th to match Jobe three back of Stricker