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Apr 3, 2022 7:37 pm

Steven Alker rolls to six-shot win in Biloxi

Steven Alker fired a 7-under 65 on Sunday to win the Rapiscan Systems Classic by six shots at Biloxi, Miss.

The New Zealander’s second consecutive bogey-free round made him a runaway winner with a tournament-record 18-under 198.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Germany’s Alex Cejka tied for second at 12-under 204. Harrington shot a final-round 65 and Cejka carded a 67.

Bob Estes shot 71 to finish four at 11 under.

Alker, 50, had seven birdies at Grand Bear Golf Club on Sunday to follow up his course-record 62 on Saturday.

He had two birdies on the front nine before kicking it into a higher gear with four birdies in the first five holes on the back side. He added a birdie on 18 to finish the victory.

It is Alker’s second win on the PGA Tour Champions. He also won in Boca Raton, Fla. last November.

“It’s hard to work out the formula, to be honest, but I felt my game was pretty good coming in,” Alker said. “I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but yesterday was amazing. I just turned my putting around and it clicked and I started hitting the ball better.

“It’s always nice when the week just gets better and better. It got really better quick, so it was great. Glad to be champion.”

Alker broke Tom Lehman’s record of 16 under from 2011 when the tournament was played about 25 miles to the northeast at Fallen Oak.

Alker didn’t look like he’d sprint away from the field when he shot an opening-round 71 and was four shots off the lead. But his 10-birdie effort on Saturday changed everything.

“I just freed it up on Saturday and let it go,” Alker said. “That’s the great thing, I’m so relaxed out here. I’m just kind of focusing on me, hitting nice shots and enjoying the company of the guys, because it’s nice and relaxed, and just enjoying playing my game.”

Harrington recorded eight birdies and one bogey in the final round but all he could do was match Alker’s sizzling score. He had five birdies during a seven-hole stretch on the back nine.

“Very suitable golf course for me this week,” Harrington said. “Some weeks, yeah, the golf courses can be quite claustrophobic in places. It depends on the venue whether you really feel comfortable, so I knew I was comfortable this week.

“If anything, I put myself under a little bit of pressure, I like the course so much.”

Cejka scored an eagle on the par-4 13th hole to go with five birdies and two bogeys.

Estes was two shots behind Alker entering the day but wasn’t a factor on Sunday with three birdies and two bogeys. He shot 64 on Saturday to stay close to Alker.

Rob Labritz (67 on Sunday), Brandt Jobe (68) and South Africa’s Retief Goosen (70) tied for fifth at 10 under.

Defending champion Kevin Sutherland finished in a tie for 23rd. He shot 73 on Sunday for a 4-under 212 total.

–Field Level Media

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