PHOENIX — Two of the top players in the PGA Tour Champions 2022 are leading the field at Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
It shouldn’t surprise, too, that the golfer who has taken the tour by storm over the past 15 months has decided to take the wheel in order to win his first series title.
Steven Alker tied for the tour lead this season with four wins, including a major at Senior PGA Championship. He entered the playoffs in the top of the points race. Padraig Harrington is currently No. He is No. 2 in points, and has won three times including a major at U.S. Senior Open.
After all the numbers were crunched, Alker was able to claim the season title mathematically. Harrington was also mathematically alive. Alker and Harrington are now at the top of the leaderboard after the pre-tournament favorites shot-for-shot at Phoenix Country Club on Friday afternoon.
Harrington was in the third-to last group for the second round. He posted a birdie/birdie finish to shoot 64 and tie for the low round of the week. After 36 holes, he is now at 12 under. To win the Cup, Harrington must win, but Alker must finish in the top five.
This is starting to look like a distant possibility.
After his round, Harrington said to Golf Channel: “Steve is persistent.”
Alker tied for first after 18 holes, and after a 7 under 64, he now holds the outright leading. Alker opened Friday’s round with two birdies and then took the lead on Friday with another birdie at No. 5. He would continue to share the lead with Harrington for the next few hours. He is now at 13 under for the week thanks to birdies on 15 & 17. Alker has made 13 birdies in two days, but has not bogeyed a hole.
“I know exactly what I have to do. The numbers are there. It’s very simple. Alker stated, “I just try to put myself in a position to win a tournament of golf. That’s huge for me.” “I have to keep making those birdies.”
Alker, a New Zealander, who moved to Scottsdale in 2002 with his family, includes his wife Tanya and his son Ben. Skye, his daughter, is also attending. Skye, who is a member the Fountain Hills High School cross-country team, will compete in the state championships.
Alker declared, “Go Falcons!”
Alker and Harrington are both capable of winning the Cup this week. Alker must finish at least five places below Harrington, even if Harrington wins the tournament.
Bernhard Langer is the ageless genius who won the Champions tour for the 44th consecutive time at 65. He has scores of 66, 69, and is tied for eighth at 7 Under. He’d tie Hale Irwin’s 15-year-old record of 45 wins, but he’ll start Saturday’s third round six shots behind the pace.
There are many birds, but not many eagles.
After 36 holes, the most interesting stat was that it took until Friday night for the first eagle record to be made.
Thongchai Jaie made a birdie on the par-5 18th hole, giving him a round 68 and moving him up to the top 10. After 1,188 holes of competition, it’s the only eagle. This week, there have been 284 birdies.
What’s at stake?
The $440,000 bonus for first place in this week’s Cup race is yours. The Cup race winner receives a cool $1million bonus.
The top five Cup finishers will receive a lump sum deposit to a Schwab brokerage account.
First place: $1,000,000