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Steve Stricker wins Regions Tradition in ‘full circle’ moment

Sep 24, 2021; Haven, Wisconsin, USA; Team USA captain Steve Stricker watches over play on the sixth green during day one four-ball rounds for the 43rd Ryder Cup golf competition at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Stricker completed an improbable comeback from a health scare last winter by winning the Regions Tradition, the first major of the PGA Tour Champions season, by six shots Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.

Stricker led wire-to-wire at Greystone Golf & Country Club for his second Regions Tradition title. His final-round 68 finished off a 21-under 267, six better than Ireland’s Padraig Harrington in second place.

The 55-year-old who captained the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall was hospitalized for two weeks with what he termed a “mystery illness” over the winter. He lost 25 pounds as a result and only began competing on the Champions Tour again in April. The Tradition was his third tournament back.

“It’s been a long time,” Stricker said through tears on the Golf Channel broadcast. “Where I was last November, even a couple of months ago, to come full circle here and to come out here and get a W, it means a lot.”

Stricker stayed bogey-free while holing four birdies Sunday. He made only two bogeys for the entire event. It was his eighth win on the 50-and-older circuit and his fourth senior major.

Harrington, 50, found a much wilder way to shoot 68 Sunday. He combined eight birdies with a double bogey and two bogeys, including a 3-over stretch at the par-3 fourth and par-5 fifth holes.

Five players tied for third at 14 under: Ernie Els of South Africa (68 Sunday), Australians Rod Pampling (67) and Stuart Appleby (69), Steven Alker of New Zealand (72) and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (70).

–Field Level Media