SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Steve Stricker holed a 20-foot eagle putt to catch K.J. Choi and then picked up a pair of late birdies that sent him to a 4-under 66 on Sunday to win the Sanford International for his sixth victory this year on the PGA Tour Champions.
Stricker earned $300,000, leaving him just short of $4 million for the year and setting a record for most money in a single season on the 50-and-older circuit.
He has not finished worse than eighth all year, and three of those six wins have come in majors on the senior circuit. He won the Sanford International for the third time.
“It was a battle,” Stricker said. “Always on these Sunday when you’re trying to win, it’s a battle. But it’s so rewarding when you do it.”
Stricker started the final round with a one-shot lead but found himself trying to catch Choi, who got off to a fast start and closed with a 65.
Stricker was two behind when he hit a good tee shot down the left side of the fairway on the par-5 12th at Minnehaha Country Club, leaving him a mid-iron to 20 feet that set up his eagle. He drove into a bunker and got-up-and-down for birdie on the 15th for a one-shot lead.
On the par-5 16th, he was out of position off the tee and had to lay up. But he hit wedge to 8 feet and holed the birdie putt to stay one ahead. Choi played in the group in front of him and bogeyed the last, giving Stricker a two-shot lead and room for error.
Stricker three-putted the 18th from long range and finished at 16-under 194.
“I kind of limped it in,” Stricker said. “But I knew I had a couple of shots to play with.”
Choi, trying to win for the second time on the PGA Tour Champions, shot 30 on the front to set the target and didn’t make a bogey until the final hole.
Joe Durant birdied his last three holes for a 68 to finish alone in third. He was followed by Bernhard Langer, who shot a 64 to finish alone in fourth.
Stricker is still three wins away from the record for most titles in a single, and only five tournaments remain on the PGA Tour Champions. For now, he has a lead of more than $2 million in the Charles Schwab Cup.