Stricker cruises to 6-shot victory at Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai

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American Steve Stricker wins the season-opener Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai on the Big Island. Photo: Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now

KA’UPULEHU-KONA — After shooting 23-under par to cruise to a 6-shot victory at the season-opening Mitsibushi Electric Championship at Hualālai on the Big Island, American Steve Stricker said: “It was a lot of fun.”

Stricker hadnʻt played for three months.

“I didn’t know what kind of game I had coming into this week, but it was pretty good,” he said.

It was more than pretty good. Stricker had only one bogey during the three-round tournament, shooting a career-tying best 60 in the second round and a final round 7-under 65 for his 12th PGA Tour Champions victory and $340,000 of the $2 million purse.


The 55-year-old took advantage of the calm conditions at a course that is usually windy this time of year to earn his fifth victory in his last 11 starts on the PGA Tour Champions, which is for players 50 and older.

The strong stretch comes after Stricker suffered from a mysterious illness in 2021 that included inflammation around his heart and led to a weight loss of 25 pounds and two hospital stays.

In the second round on Friday, Stricker, from Edgerton, Wisc., shot the 60 — a remarkable 12-under par. He became just the second player to record scores of 60 or better on both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.

Stricker also posted a 60 in the opening round of the 2010 John Deere Classic. On the same day, Paul Goydos bested him by shooting a 59 and he carded a 60 in the second round of the PGA TOUR Champions 3M Championship in 2017.


The 60 gave him a two-shot lead over Alex Cejka entering the final round on Saturday. Sticker got off to a hot start with three birdies in his first four holes and never looked back. The contest was who would finish second, which turned out to be four players: Steven Alker, Mike Weir, Ken Tanigawa and Darren Clarke.

“There’s no way I could have caught him,” Tanigawa said of Stricker.

Cejka was in sole possession of second until No. 16, when he found the dreaded lava field on his second shot. He tried to hit out of it, like he successfully had done earlier in the round, but the ball caught a rock en route to a double bogey. A bogey on the next hole led to Cejka finishing in a tie for sixth.

There were players in striking distance of Stricker in the final round, but on the 14th hole he sank a 45-foot eagle putt to go to 23-under. Stricker said “that felt good to me and had to hurt the other guys that were trying to catch me.”


He had a chance to tie the course record of 25 under set by Loren Roberts in 2006, but missed a couple of birdie putts in the final holes while playing conservatively down the stretch with the lead.

With the victory, Stricker leads the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings.

He said he planned to play more this season, including trying to play a couple of regular PGA Tour tournaments, “maybe John Deer in the summertime,” to compete with the best players in the world. Stricker won 12 tournaments while of the PGA Tour.

“It’s still fun to compete with the best in the world, but I’m going to concentrate out here, playing as much as I can,” he said.


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