Steven Alker wins Dominion Energy Charity Classic, expands lead in Charles Schwab Cup
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Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
Steven Alker’s interview after winning Dominion Energy
Steven Alker struck the first blow in pursuit of his first Charles Schwab Cup, coming from two strokes back to start the day to win the PGA TOUR Champions Dominion Energy Charity Classic at the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond by one stroke over K.J. Choi.
Alker, who entered the first event in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs leading the standings, trailed Jerry Kelly, who’s fourth in the race for the Cup, by a stroke before three consecutive birdies starting at 15. Those pushed him to 14-under par to edge a hard-charging Choi, who fired a 5-under 67. Kelly, Padraig Harrington, No. 2 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, and Doug Barron were another shot back at 12 under.
Alker finished with a 68 to Kelly’s even-par 72. Kelly, who began the final round at 12 under, knew it would take a lot better than a round of par to win for the fourth time this season.
Instead, it was Alker who posted his fourth victory of 2022 and solidified his grip on the Schwab Cup.
“It was kind of a dogfight down there at the end,” said Alker, who prevailed on an overcast, drizzly day. “There was so many on. I was trying not to look at the leaderboard, because there was so many guys just trying to win this golf tournament. So I was just pleased to get … I made those clutch birdies on 15, 16, and especially 17, that was huge.
“So, yeah, just so glad to, especially with Paddy and Jerry playing so well and I’m right there as well. So it was exciting and nerve-racking, everything, all those emotions.”
Alker and Kelly both played the front nine in even par, leaving Alker still two behind and a little frustrated with his game. But when he birdied 10 and Kelly bogeyed it, the New Zealand native said it snapped him back into focus.
“Maybe just kind of freed me up a little bit, kind of relaxed a little bit, because I have had those struggles on 7, 8, and 9, it wasn’t happening,” Alker said. “And then hit a quality shot on 10. And to be, like, just tied, I wasn’t chasing anymore. And then I just started giving … I said to myself, just give yourself some chances, let’s just how we did playing yesterday, back nine, we just gave ourself a lot of chances. And yeah, I was putting well, so that turned out nicely.”
Steve Stricker, who is third in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, skipped the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
Not to be overlooked on Sunday was Rocco Mediate, who turned in the low round of the day and tied for low for the tournament with an 8-under 64 that vaulted him from 39th place into a tie for eighth. It also moved him comfortably inside the top 36, securing a spot in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
Mediate had eight birdies and no bogeys, and no one else on Sunday shot better than 67.
The last player to advance to the second playoff event, the TimberTech Championship, is Scott McCarron, who won the Schwab Cup in 2019. The last player out is David Branshaw, who finished T22 at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic but reached only 55th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.