RICHMOND, Va. — Steven Alker birdied three straight holes to take a four-way lead late Sunday and win the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the opening event of the PGA Tour Championships at the Charles Schwab Cup.
He started the tournament as the Schwab Cup leader and ended the season with birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to beat KJ Choi by one stroke. That ties Steve Stecker for the most on the tour this season.
Jerry Kelly, who led after each of the first two rounds on the James River Course at Virginia Country Club, held the lead until the par-4 15th hole, when his birdie attempt stopped on the edge of the cup. Playing partners Alker and Padraig Harrington pulled away at 12 under, and a short time later Choi was 12 under one hole in front.
“It was kind of a dogfight at the end,” Alker said. “I was trying not to look at the leaderboard because there are a lot of guys trying to win this golf tournament.”
Alker added birdies at the par-5 16th and par-3 17th, then closed in on a bogey at the par-5 18th, raising his arms in triumph as he fell, Choi’s closing birdie just enough for a runner. – Finish up.
Kelly, who tied for 72, was tied for third, Harrington (69) and Doug Baron (69), two shots back, while Ernie Ells (67) and Brian Gay (69) tied for sixth. Ells got one shot back after birdying the par-4 11th, but finished with seven consecutive pars.