Steve Stricker defeated Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington on the first playoff hole at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to earn his sixth PGA Tour Champions major on Sunday in Frisco, Texas.
Harrington led after each of the first three rounds but found himself behind Stricker by one shot as they headed to the par-5 18th hole at the Fields Ranch East course at PGA Frisco. With his back to the wall, Harrington reached the green in two and two-putted for birdie. That was enough to force a playoff once Stricker missed a long birdie putt.
But when they headed back to the 18th tee to start the playoff, Harrington drove into a hazard and Stricker was the one in position to make birdie. Harrington missed a birdie putt that would have extended the playoff.
Stricker, 56, has won each of the first two senior majors of the season, having captured the Regions Tradition earlier this month.
“It feels great,” Stricker said of the consecutive major wins. “It feels great to do it not only to do it and have [my daughter] Izzy on the bag was even more special. We had a great time this week and that was the goal, right, just to come here and have a good time with her, and to throw a win on top of it is even icing on the cake.”
He added about his daughter’s work, “She did well. Both of us, we ... clammed up a little bit coming in. ... I had my head down grinding and trying to figure out how to get it in the hole at times. You’ll have to ask her, but I’m sure she was a little nervous coming down the stretch. But all in all, after it’s all said and done, it was a lot of fun.”
Steve Stricker won the Senior PGA for the first time in his career, adding it to a mantle that includes three Regions Traditions, a US Senior Open and a Senior Players Championship.
Stricker began the day one shot off Harrington's pace and carded a 3-under 69 to get to 18-under 270.
Harrington had a 2-under 70 with five birdies and three bogeys. He trailed by two shots after 14 holes with Stricker but birdied the par-4 15th to narrow the margin. Both players bogeyed the par-3 17th before Harrington tied it at 18.
“Steve is probably the toughest guy you could ever play on a Sunday,” Harrington said. “He has to have the best wedge game in the world. Like he's a fabulous putter, he's a fabulous chipper, but his wedge play like at the first 14 holes was just spectacular.”
Darren Clarke was tied fifth at nine under.
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