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Champions Tour (CHAMP)

Steven Alker earns first Champions win, qualifies for season finale

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New Zealand’s Steven Alker posted a 4-under 68 Sunday in the final round of the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., to earn his first PGA Tour Champions victory and qualify for next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Alker carded a 17-under 199 at The Old Course at Broken Sound Club, two strokes better than Jim Furyk and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The 50-year-old rookie began playing the tour in August and earned top-10 finishes in his first six events and seven of eight before his breakthrough Sunday.

“I guess it’s just been building, I’ve been having chances and it’s — you have a bunch of top-10s and you get in the thick of it and just try to get a W,” Alker said. “Not that the top-10s aren’t any good, it’s just that you (want to) get that win, and just glad I hung on today.”

Alker bogeyed No. 5 but recovered with two birdies on the front nine and three more on the back, including at the par-5 11th and 18th holes.

“The wind was tricky today, it was gusty, so it was just a tricky day,” Alker said. “Trying to win a golf tournament, it’s always tough.”

Rain wiped out Friday’s entire first round, so the field played 36 holes Saturday. Furyk and Tim Petrovic shared the lead through two rounds. Petrovic only managed a 2-over 74 Sunday and tied for fourth at 12 under with Ernie Els (71) of South Africa.

Furyk bogeyed two of his first three holes, which Alker said left the door open for him. Furyk birdied Nos. 4, 11 and 12, but had to settle for pars the rest of the way en route to a 71.

Jimenez opened with a bogey before firing seven birdies, including a run of three at Nos. 11-13, for a final-round 66 that moved him up the board.

Alker’s victory moved him from 46th in Schwab Cup points to 22nd. That was enough to get him into the 36-man field of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix next week.

Germany’s Bernhard Langer, who tied for 11th at 8 under with a final-round 69, remained in first place in the Schwab Cup after he won the first leg of the playoffs, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Furyk is projected to hold on to second place, and Jimenez is projected to move past Els for third, leaving Els in fourth.

–Field Level Media

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