Hometown favorite Steve Stricker wins American Family Insurance Championship
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Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
For all of his major accomplishments this season and over his PGA TOUR Champions career, Steve Stricker couldn’t win a home game.
That was, until this week.
Stricker finally broke through at the tournament for which he serves as host, the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin, ending an 0 for 5 drought. Stricker finished at 18 under, easily outdistancing Paul Broadhurst, who entered the day tied with Stricker at 15 under but faded with a 2-over 74 while Stricker was shooting 69.
Steve Stricker hits it tight to set up birdie at American Family Insurance Championship
“I'll tell you what, that was a hard day,” Stricker said. “I wanted to win this one right here in our own backyard. We started this tournament, we get so much fan support, player support. Gotten in my own way over the years, but today I was kind of determined to get it done.”
Steven Alker, the defending Charles Schwab Cup champion, tied Broadhurst for second at 13 under after carding a 70.
But there was no real charge coming at Stricker. He turned in 2 under and cruised to victory.
“It's not about the golf, this week's all about charity and giving back to our community,” Stricker said. “We raise $2.5 million each time we put this thing on, and it's all because of our sponsors. And American Family Insurance, what a wonderful title sponsor. And then all the other corporate sponsors that come out and show up, and the fans. We have so much support here, 900-plus volunteers, it's never-ending. And the players feel very welcome here and they're excited to come here and play, and fans show up and show their appreciation as well.”
Broadhurst cracked on Saturday that he figured he’d have only two people rooting for him on Sunday -- his wife and his caddie.
“I've played with Steve a few times, and I always enjoy playing with him,” the Englishman said. “He's a great player. You try and feed off him really, the way he swings it, his rhythm, his putting stroke. He's the guy to copy really.”
The American Family Insurance Championship marked Stricker’s fourth win of 2023, the most on PGA TOUR Champions, and padded his already large lead in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup. It was the 15th victory in 58 starts on the PGA TOUR Champions for the Wisconsin native, the best win rate in history. He also extended his record for consecutive rounds under par to 55.
Simply put, no one is on Stricker’s level right now. He has made 11 starts in 2023 and has 10 top-five finishes. His other result was a T8.
Steve Stricker wedges it tight to set up birdie at American
“I'm playing really well, consistent,” Stricker said. “I'm driving it good. My irons have been really good lately. I've been making some putts off and on. That equals some good scoring.
“There's a lot of short irons in your hand, especially here. That's what I do and take pride in the most is short irons, so I get a lot of those, and I've been capitalizing on some of those.”