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Steve Stricker sets PGA TOUR Champions earnings record with Sanford win

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Secures sixth win of the season in just 15 starts

    Written by Staff

    Steve Stricker started Sunday with a one-stroke lead, yielded it to K.J. Choi early on the back nine and then roared back to defend his title at the PGA TOUR Champions Sanford International presented by First PREMIER Bank & Mastercard.

    The 56-year-old Stricker finished with a 66 to get to 16 under. Choi shot 65 to finish at 15 under. It was Stricker’s third victory at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and his sixth win of 2023 in just 15 starts. The Champions Tour record is nine, shared by Peter Thomson and Hale Irwin. Stricker did however set the PGA TOUR Champions' single-season earnings record with the win and sits just shy of $4 million for the season.

    Stricker eagled the par-5 12th to knot things up with Choi and birdied 15 to take a one-shot lead that he never relinquished. Stricker’s lead was two when he arrived at 18, so when he spun his second shot off the two-tiered green to some 60 feet and a tier below the hole, he could afford a rare three-putt bogey.

    “Kind of limped it in there on the last hole, but I knew I had a couple shots to play with,” Stricker said. “It was a battle. Always on these Sundays trying to win a golf tournament is a battle, not only your emotions, the game, everything, you know, just trying to get it done. But it's so rewarding when you do it.”

    No one knows that feeling this year better than Stricker, who hasn’t finished below a tie for eighth all year.

    “I had a nice birdie putt at 10 that I didn't make and I was kind of kicking myself, didn't birdie 11, but then that eagle at 12 kind of jump started that back side,” Stricker said. “Again, it's a lot of fun. I didn't hit the shots like I wanted to at times and that's what keeps you grinding, keeps you working at it, trying to improve, but ultimately got it done, which is really cool.”

    Joe Durant came in solo third. Bernhard Langer shot the second-lowest round (64) on Sunday to best his age by two and rise the ranks into fourth.

    John Daly tied for seventh, marking his first top 10 since a T8 at the American Family Insurance Championship in June 2022.

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