Pádraig Harrington endured a disappointing final day at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship as he finished in a share of 20th place where stunning final round 63 from Stephen Alker saw him claim his first major and his third win this season.
Alker came from four behind to ambush Stephen Ames and Bernhard Langer to win by three strokes on sixteen-under par with Harrington finishing a distant twelve shots behind on four-under after a final round of three-over 74.
The three-time major champion was five back heading into the final day having finished second to Steve Stricker in the opening major of the year but Sunday was not his day.
Alker won a total of seven times around the world with tournament victories in America, Australia, Canada, Fiji and Tahiti but admits the over 50s game has given him that second chance of winning tournaments.
“I can’t put my finger on one thing exactly,” he said. “I look back and I go, geez, did I really have the game, or did I have the attitude? You know, certain courses suited me out there. But I couldn’t really put my finger on it exactly.
“I’ve matured and it’s a second wind. That’s the biggest thing, I’ve had these 18 months, two years, 50s coming up, so let’s stay in shape. Let’s keep playing. We have a second career. Let’s go for it. Let’s go.
“I got a chance to talk to my wife real quick. It was like a three-minute, two-minute thing before we had the toast at the Champion’s tent. Just, “Hi, Honey, we did it.” That was pretty cool. I’ll catch up with everybody, the phone has gone off the hook, got a hundred messages pretty quick. Team Alk was on the bag, and yeah, it’s a pretty big team. It’s kind of small, but it’s big, and just helped me the last couple years just keep playing keep persevering. Showing the rewards now.”
In the end, it was Darren Clarke who finished best of the Irish as a three-under 68 gave him a share of 14th place on six-under.
The 2011 Open champion carded five birdies and two bogeys as his gradual return to form continued.
His compatriot Harrington needed a hot start to get in and amongst it but a one-over front nine put paid to his already slim chances.
Three bogeys in six holes added insult to injury before the 50-year-old birdied the par-3 17th.
Overnight leader Stephen Ames of Canada finished on thirteen-under after a final round 70 which was good enough for second place while Langer’s challenge faded on the back nine as he took third.
Alker can look forward to next year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hills.
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