Steve Stricker cruises to six-stroke victory at Mitsubishi Electric Championship
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Written by Kevin Prise @https://twitter.com/PGATOURKevin
Steve Stricker’s Round 3 highlights from Mitsubishi
Steve Stricker earned his 12th PGA TOUR Champions title Saturday at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, carding a three-day total of 23 under for a six-stroke victory over Steven Alker, Mike Weir, Ken Tanigawa and Darren Clarke.
Stricker began the final round at Hualalai with a two-stroke lead over Alex Cejka and showed no intention of slowing down. He made three birdies in his first four holes and added birdies on Nos. 10 and 13 after the turn. An eagle at the par-5 14th was the proverbial nail in the coffin, and he cruised home.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Stricker after completing his final round. “To win here, I didn’t know what kind of game I had coming into this week, but it was pretty good.”
To say the least. It’s Stricker’s fifth victory in his last 11 starts on PGA TOUR Champions, continuing a remarkable comeback from a mysterious illness suffered in fall 2021, which caused him to lose 25 pounds and required two separate hospital stints.
He now leads the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings, perhaps becoming the early favorite to win the Cup in 2023.
Stricker made history with a second-round, 12-under 60 at Hualalai GC, becoming just the second player to record scores of 60 or better on both the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.
Stricker also carded a 60 in the opening round of the 2010 John Deere Classic; Paul Goydos carded 59 that same day and added a 60 in the second round of the PGA TOUR Champions’ 2017 3M Championship.
Stricker’s second-round 60 at Hualalai was met with praise across the golf world, particularly at the PGA TOUR’s The American Express in the Coachella Valley. He validated that praise with continued aggression and effectiveness in Saturday’s final round in Hawaii.
“About as good a wedge game and short game you pretty much will ever see,” said Jon Rahm, 54-hole co-leader at The American Express. “About as simple as a technique as you'll ever see as well. Very composed player. Somebody who has achieved a lot. You said he's 55? To get that close to your age? Very impressive. Very, very impressive.
“Great man. I know earlier in his career he had to do a bit of a swing change and that changed how he had to play, obviously, a little bit. Ended up with that notorious shorter, very straight
takeaway. And even in more recent memory, right after the Ryder Cup, he got sick and he was in a pretty bad state. So that this quickly he is actually posting those scores, it shows how much of a grinder and how much of a warrior he is. So I'm impressed.”
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.