Stricker wins 2nd straight Regions Tradition championship, tying tournament scoring record
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Steve Stricker tied the Regions Tradition record with a 23-under 265, including Sunday's closing 65, and ran away with his second straight championship at the PGA Tour Champions major by six strokes over Ernie Els and Robert Karlsson.
Stricker, whose late surge had pulled him into a tie with Karlsson entering the final round, continued his domination on the par-72 Founders Course at Greystone. It's his third win at the Tradition in the last five attempts — including two second-place finishes— and gave the 56-year-old five major wins, sixth-most on the 50-and-over tour.
His birdie putt for the outright tournament scoring record was only about a foot off on No. 18. Doug Tewell had set the Tradition record, going 23-under in 2001.
Calgary's Stephen Ames (70) tied for 11th at 11 under and is expected to stay at No. 5 in the Schwab Cup standings. Mike Weir (69) of Brights Grove, Ont., tied for 15th at 10 under.
There was still scant drama in Stricker's 13th victory in 55 tournaments after the first few holes. Stricker extended his birdie streak to seven with three straight to open Sunday and went from a tie to a four-shot lead in just six holes, adding to his Charles Schwab Cup points lead.
He returned from a 58-minute weather delay with a birdie putt on No. 15 and added another on 16 to set up a drama-free finish.
The battle for second was the lone remaining question down the stretch.
Els finished with a bogey-free 65 to rebound from Saturday's 72. Karlsson birdied the final hole for a 71 and his fifth PGA Tour Champions runner-up finish, while still seeking his first win.
He also had a pair of second-place finishes in 132 PGA Tour starts, but no wins. A two-time Ryder Cup player, he won the 2008 money title on the European tour after top-eight finishes in the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Stricker is the fifth player to win back-to-back Tradition titles, joining Jack Nicklaus (twice), Gil Morgan, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer.
Jerry Kelly (68) finished 16 under, one stroke ahead of Marco Dawson (68), Miguel Angel Jimenez (68), Paul Broadhurst (70) and Padraig Harrington (71).
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The Associated Press