Stricker wins PGA Tour playoff champions over Karlsson

Steve Stricker won his second consecutive PGA Tour Champions event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 64 and beating Robert Karlsson with a birdie on the first playoff hole at the Sanford International.

Stricker had a one shot lead when he looked behind him and saw Karlsson with an excellent birdie chance on the 17th hole. The Swede converted and the two finished with pars to force a playoff at 14-under 196.

Stricker made short work of birdieing his third win of the season. Stricker won The Ally Challenge two weeks ago and didn’t play last week.

“You just have to stay aggressive sometimes here and I did. I did a good job today and hit a lot of good putts,” Stricker said. “The playoff one, that was a special putt, that was really cool to do.”

Stricker took the six-hour drive from Wisconsin to Sioux Falls for what he called a family trip, and it certainly was. His wife was again his caddie, while eldest daughter Bobbi Maria was caddie for Mario Tiziani, the brother of Stricker’s wife. Tiziana tied for 38th.

Stricker’s daughter is preparing for the second leg of the LPGA Tour qualifiers.

Karlsson, who started with a 62, had a chance to win the 18 in regulation time. Stricker then ended it quickly in the playoffs.

Stricker is the fifth player with at least three PGA Tour Champions wins this year, joining Steven Alker, Padraig Harrington, Jerry Kelly and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Stricker moved up to No. 3 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with three tournaments to play before the playoffs begin.

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Naomi C. Amerson