14 Nov 2022

Steve Alker seals PGA Champions Tour season-long title

1:11 pm on 14 November 2022

New Zealand golfer Steve Alker has won the season-long title on the star-studded PGA Champions Tour.

Steve Alker.

Steve Alker. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Alker sealed the Charles Schwab Cup, and a US $1 million bonus, with a third-place finish at the season-ending tournament in Arizona on Monday (NZ time).

He carded a three-under par final round to finish at 19-under overall and eight shots behind runaway tournament winner Padraig Harrington.

The three-time major winner from Ireland finished second in the Schwab Cup race, with Alker holding his nerve to secure the top-five finish he needed in the case of a Harrington victory.

The 51-year-old from Hamilton netted US $250,000 for his third-place in Arizona and $1 million as the season-long champion, taking his 2022 earnings to more that $4.5 million.

"Amazing. It's a dream come true," Alker said.

"We've been building up to this [event] during the year, knowing that it's probably going to come down to the wire.

"Padraig played amazing this week and he kept me on my toes. He knew what he had to do and fortunately I was good enough to do what I did."

Alker's rise since joining the Champions Tour, for players 50-years and older, 15 months ago has been nothing short of meteoric.

Largely unheralded as a professional before that, he spent more than two decades bouncing around various tours.

He played his first Champions Tour event midway through last season and went on to rack up nine top-10 results in 10 tournaments, including victory in the penultimate event of the year.

Alker carried that strong form into 2022, finishing second in the first event of the season and bagging three wins by the end of May to take the Schwab Cup lead.

It was a lead he never lost, as he finished the year with four wins, four seconds, five thirds and a staggering 18 top-10s from 23 events played.

Alker was asked if, in his wildest dreams, he saw his Champions Tour success coming.

"Not this quickly anyway, for sure.

"I was just slogging away and trying to stay in shape and keep my game in shape.

"18 months out before coming in [to the Champions Tour] I had a good plan and just got ready [but] it's all happened very quickly."

New Zealand golf fans would soon get to see Alker in action on home soil.

He has already confirmed his appearance in the New Zealand Open, which is being played in Queenstown at the start of March.