Padraig Harrington wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship; Steven Alker wins season-long Charles Schwab Cup
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Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
Padraig Harrington’s Round 4 highlights from Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Padraig Harrington did his part. He won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the season finale on PGA TOUR Champions, in dominant fashion.
Harrington shot 62 on Saturday to build a five-shot cushion and cruised home on Sunday with a 6-under 65 to finish at 27 under. No one at Phoenix Country Club came within seven strokes when all was said and done. Harrington’s total tied the record for relation to par in a PGA TOUR Champions event, matching Jack Nicklaus (1990 Kaulig Companies Championship).
“Yeah, I didn’t realize that,” Harrington said. “It’s nice to hold the record with Jack Nicklaus, I believe he’s done it as well. Kind of glad I didn’t beat him.”
What the 51-year-old Irishman couldn’t control was how Steven Alker played. And with the Charles Schwab Cup on the line, the 51-year-old native of New Zealand didn’t shrink from the moment.
Alker, the Charles Schwab Cup leader coming in, needed to finish in a two-way T5 or better if Harrington won the event. And he did, easily. Alker shot a 3-under 68 on Sunday to finish at 19 under and in solo third.
“Playing with Padraig today, it was kind of difficult because do I chase him? Do I protect?” Alker said. “I just tried to play my game as good as I could, but he played amazing and just glad to be champion.”
The only player to come between Harrington and Alker was Alex Cejka, whose 65 on Sunday pushed him into second at 20 under.
But the day was all about Harrington and Alker. Harrington never took his foot off the gas on Sunday. It was an impressive display from a player who said on Saturday that he preferred to be the pursuer instead of the leader. Harrington notched his fourth win of 2022, tying for the most this season with Alker and Steve Stricker.
“It’s very nice to come here under pressure; I came into this event knowing I had to win to give myself a chance in the Charles Schwab Cup, so that brings a certain amount of stress and focus,” Harrington said. “And to go out and win the tournament from that position, I’m happy with that. That brings a bit of confidence going forward. It’s nice to win for a fourth time during the year. There have been
several of us who have won four times, so yeah, it caps off a great year.”
Alker won the first Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs event, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, and finished tied for sixth at the second, the TimberTech Championship.
Harrington was even better in the playoffs, going T3 and solo fourth before winning on Sunday. But he graciously gave all credit to Alker.
“He’s a truly deserved winner this year,” Harrington said. “It’s not like he’s just some flash in the pan at the end of the year and won a couple events and all of a sudden won the Schwab Cup. The pressure has been on him right from the start of the year all the way through. He had a lead and several of us were catching him all year. It’s very impressive that he’s not just held on, but he’s won in style.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Janzen and Stephen Ames tied for fourth.