Steven Alker

Alker Captures TimberTech New Zealander Steven Alker, who turned 50 in late July, the has been one of the hottest golfers on any major tour

Steven Alker doesn’t have the same pedigree as major champions Mark Calcavecchia, Bernhard Langer and Darren Clarke, but they share one thing: a TimberTech Championship trophy.

The TimberTech Championship’s run of three consecutive major champions as winners ended last month when Alker outdueled Jim Furyk down The Old Course’s back nine to win his first PGA Tour Champions title at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton.

It won’t be Alker’s last title on the 50-and-older circuit, that’s for sure.

Since Alker turned 50 in late July, the New Zealander has been one of the hottest golfers on any major tour.

And he did it the old-fashioned way.

He earned it.

First, Alker Monday-qualified for the Boeing Classic. He then rattled off six consecutive top-10 finishes to keep earning a spot in the next event. A fourth-place finish in the first playoff event got Alker into the TimberTech Championship at the last minute.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez
Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Alker fired a 29 on his front nine in the second round to move into contention. Then, playing alongside Furyk, Alker birdied two of the last four holes to claim a two-shot victory over Furyk and Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

“It’s just been building,” Alker said. “I’ve been having chances. You have a bunch of top-10s and you get in the thick of it and just try to get a ‘W.’ Not that the top-10s aren’t any good. It’s just that you want to get that win, and just glad I got one today.”

Alker shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 17-under 199 and earn the $305,000 first prize. More importantly, the victory moved him from 46th on the tour’s money list to 22nd, thus earning him fully exempt status on next year’s PGA Tour Champions.

No, Alker is not exactly a household name – not even in the households of professional golfers. But with eight top-10s and a win in his first nine starts, that’s about to change.

“I didn’t know much about him, either,” said Furyk, who was first paired with Alker in the event Furyk hosts in Jacksonville. “He doesn’t really seem to have any weaknesses.

“To kind of come from really no status out here on the Champions Tour to making the (tour championship) in only nine or 10 events, that’s playing some good golf. He’s been knocking on the door and in the top-10 each and every week. Eventually you do that enough, you win a tournament.”

Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk

Here is Alker’s background: He played primarily in Europe and Australasia and his best finish in a major a 19th at the 2012 British Open.

Alker won four times on the U.S.-based Korn Ferry Tour, with his last victory coming more than seven years ago – 2,709 days to be exact.

No wonder Alker was beaming when he chipped close for birdie on the 18th hole to clinch his victory.

“I always know I’ve been good, but to play with these guys, it’s just a matter of feeling comfortable,” Alker said. “I think I’m comfortable right now playing with these guys, but giving yourself chances, I think that’s the biggest thing. Golf’s always about giving yourself chances and eventually it will happen.”

And, based on his superb start, it’s likely to happen again and again.

Boca Raton’s Bernhard Langer finished 11th to maintain his lead over Furyk and Ernie Els (who was fourth) as Langer tries to win the Charles Schwab Cup for the sixth time.

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