Steven Alker seeking some PGA Tour Champions history at the 2024 Chubb Classic

Feb, 2024

With Bernhard Langer’s quest to become the first golfer to win three consecutive Chubb Classic championships derailed by an Achilles injury, Steven Alker’s quest for his own three-peat takes center stage this weekend in Naples.

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The 52-year-old New Zealand native will go for his third consecutive PGA Tour Champions victory after capturing January’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the 2023 season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship last November. He would become the 10th player in Champions Tour history to win three straight events.

“Obviously the wins build confidence, so I’m just feeling good about my game,” Alker said Wednesday at Tiburón Golf Club. “I’ve worked on my game and my swing, and just everything is good, kind of where I want it. This is the strongest field we’ve had for a while, so just got some work to do and go low.”

Work is what’s enabled Alker to transform what was once a middling pro career into what’s rapidly becoming one of golf’s greatest second acts. Alker earned his PGA Tour card three times but never recorded a top-10 finish in a PGA event. He won four events on the Korn Ferry Tour but also endured a stretch where he missed the cut in 21 consecutive starts.

As he approached 50, Alker stayed in excellent physical condition and continued to work on his game in preparation for the Champions Tour. After becoming eligible in July 2021, he played his way into his first Champions event via a Monday Qualifier, which launched a run of six consecutive top-10 finishes.

Since then, he’s been one of the senior tour’s most successful players. In 2022, Alker was named the Champions Player of the Year after winning four times and finishing top-3 in 13 of his 23 starts. Overall, he’s ended up first (8) or second (10) in exactly one-third of his 54 Champions events with 40 top-10 finishes.

Along the way, Alker’s become a golfing example of the power of perseverance.

Steven Alker of New Zealand reacts after winning the PGA TOUR Champions Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Golf Club on January 20, 2024, in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“It just goes to show if you just kind of keep dreaming and just keep chasing it then yeah, good things can happen,” he said. “I’ve been around the game a long time and gained a lot of experience. If I can pass some of those experiences on to help people speed up the process, all the better.”

Alker, who carded top-10 finishes in his two previous Chubb Classic appearances, said while the long layoff between his recent wins has been challenging from a momentum standpoint, it also has some benefits.

“It’s a little bit tough with the start-and-stop schedule at the moment, but I think having that break rather than just mentally being kind of worn down … that’s probably a good thing,” he said.

Langer, the winningest player in PGA Tour Champions history, congratulated Alker on the 18th green following his victory last month in Hawaii. Alker said he’s picked up a few key lessons competing alongside the legendary Hall-of-Famer the past three seasons.

“He’s always just striving to get his game in shape every week to try and have a chance to win,” Alker said. ”He just does that very well.

“He’s got everything, and mentally he’s very strong, so that’s a good thing to learn from, too.”

Alker hopes to utilize those lessons gleaned from Langer at this year’s Chubb Classic to make a little history of his own.

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