Jacksonville, Fla. – Steve Sticker followed the plan until the last hole on Sunday, and then nothing happened. He closed with a 3-over 69 for a two-shot victory over the stellar Furyk and Friends, his fourth PGA Tour Champions title this year.
A three-shot lead staker at Timuquana Country Club, a Donald Ross design crowned green and played conservatively on all sides.
His aim was to score on 5s and he birdied them all. He also wanted to keep bogeys off the card, and he nearly did. Leading by three shots, he nailed the 8-iron short of the green and lay on his backhand for his only bogey of the weekend.
He finished at 14-under 202 for the third time in the last four. Harrison Frazar tied for second with a 65, which will send him into next week’s PGA Tour Tournament of Champions in North Carolina.
If the attacker follows his plan, he knows that winning is up to him.
“I felt like if I came around here and didn’t make bogey today and shot a par 5 – birdie two or three – 3-under par or 4-under par, it was going to take something special. Round,” he said.
Tournament host Jim Furyk carded four straight birdies on the back nine for a 69 to finish tied for third.
Stricker won $300,000 and is a strong No. 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup this week ahead of unbeaten leader Steven Alker and Padraig Harrington. There is just one tournament left before the PGA Tour Champions postseason, but it will be a long time before Stricker makes another appearance.
This is the time of the year when deer choose to climb a tree stand with a bow. He has scored at least twice in his last three events to climb the rankings. With the job at hand, he said he’s considering playing in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in November.
For now, Stricker, who was hospitalized for 11 days in November, has put an impressive wrap on a year that began with a health scare. His white blood cell count accelerated, his liver mass dropped and swelling around his heart caused it to go out of rhythm.
He returned the final week in April, and six months later, he leads the PGA Tour championship with four wins this year.
“I never knew what was going to come out this season, so it was really exciting,” Stricker said. “It gave me a different perspective last fall. I’ve said that on several occasions and it’s true. I’m happy to be here to play and do what I love to do.”