Steve Stricker makes Regions Tradition his personal playground
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Two wins and two runners-up at season's first PGA TOUR Champions major
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
The tradition at the Regions Tradition, the first major of the year on PGA TOUR Champions, is that it runs through Steve Stricker.
The Wisconsin native has made Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, his personal playground. In four appearances, Stricker has won twice and come in second twice, and one of those was in a playoff. He’s 73 under par in 16 rounds; his worst round is a 2-under 70. He is the defending champion; he won in wire-to-wire fashion last year and blitzed the field by six strokes.
Of the players who’ve entered the past four Regions Traditions, no one is within 30 strokes of Stricker. His closest pursuer is fellow Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly, who is 42 under.
If there are, as the saying goes, horses for courses, then Stricker, 56, is Greystone’s Secretariat.
|In the last four Regions Traditions, Steve Stricker has beaten or tied 310 of 311 competitors (99.7%) in regulation.|
|Year||Stricker’s Finish||Field Size||Players Not Named Stricker||Stricker Beat or Tied||Notes|
|2021||2nd||81||80||80*||*Lost in a playoff|
|2018||T2||78||77||76||3-way T2; lost by 3|
Note: The Regions Tradition was not held in 2020.
He headlines the field for this week’s Regions Tradition, which begins Thursday. He’s looking for his third Regions Tradition title, his fifth senior major and his 13th Champions Tour victory.
“It’s always nice to be back,” Stricker said Wednesday. “They do a great job every year with the tournament. Today in our pro-am there were a lot of people that came out and supported it, a lot of celebrities. They do it right here, it’s fun, and it’s fun to be back.”
Steve Stricker closes with birdie to win by six at Tradition
Stricker enters the Regions Tradition atop the 2023 Charles Schwab Cup standings. He has played in seven events and finished in the top 10 in each, with one win, a solo second and two T2s. He leads PGA TOUR Champions in scoring average and scrambling, is second in greens in regulation, ranks third in putting average and stands fourth in total driving.
In other words, he’s in excellent form as he comes to a course that seems to fit his eye and his game perfectly.
“I’ve had some success here, and I enjoy the layout,” Stricker said. “You have to take care of your ball, there’s a lot of water that comes into play, and a lot of elevation changes so you have to pay attention, keep it in the fairway, and knock it on the greens. The course is always in great shape. I enjoy the area and the warm weather. This is our really our first warm-weather event of the year. It’s nice to be here and get loose.”
The only two people to beat Stricker at Greystone, Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2018 and Alex Cejka in 2021, are both in the field this week. Jimenez is sixth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings and Cejka is 10th.
Stricker will tee off at 12:12 Central time on Thursday with David Toms, who is second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, and Stephen Ames, who sits in fourth. Toms and Ames are the only two-time winners on the Champions Tour this season, with Ames claiming the trophy at last week’s Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Duluth, Georgia.