Stricker in the major winners’ circle again at Firestone

Mark McGowan

Steve Stricker (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)

Steve Stricker secured his 16th Champions Tour victory and his third major of 2023 as he pulled away to record a three-stroke victory at the Kaulig Companies Championship at Firestone Country Club.

Widely regarded as one of the best players never to win a major during his lengthy PGA Tour career, the 56-year-old now has seven majors on the Champions circuit, finishing 11 under, three strokes ahead of David Toms. Harrison Frazar, with whom Stricker entered the final round tied for the lead at -7, finished tied for third after shooting level-par, alongside Ernie Els and K.J. Choi.

Darren Clarke, who entered the final round at +1, struggled to a five-over 75 on day four that left the 2011 Open champion tied for 30th at +6.


“It’s been fun. I think I get so emotional because we put so much into it,” Stricker said. “This is a special tournament here, gets me in THE PLAYERS Championship next year, which is another goal of mine this year, to get back there and play again.

“Yeah, I’m just having a ball. I’m enjoying the ride and, you know, just hopefully continue. Just trust and believe in what I’m doing.”

The victory wasn’t quite as routine as the final scoring suggests as Frazer trailed by just one approaching the par-3 15th and looked set to be tied at leaving it after Stricker left himself a 40-footer for birdie and Frazer was in reasonably tight. But the Ryder Cup winning captain isn’t considered one of the game’s all-time great putters for no reason and sank the raking double-breaker after which Frazer missed his and the lead was two.

He stretched it to three on the next after wedging to two feet and effectively iced the tournament. “That putt he made on the par 3, he made about a 40-, 45-footer there, and then that wedge shot he hit on 16 was one of the best wedge shots I’ve ever seen,” said Frazar, whose T3 was the second-best finish of his Champions Tour career. “That was a one-two punch and the rest of us were out.”

Stricker becomes the first player to win three majors in a season since Bernhard Langer accomplished the feat back in 2017, and stretched his already healthy lead at the top of the Charles Schwab Cup rankings to lead second-placed Langer by more than $2 million.


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