Steve Stricker won the U.S. PGA Tour’s season-opening tournament in Hawaii for his eighth victory since 2009, the most of any player over that stretch.
Stricker, 44, shot 23-under 269 over four rounds at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui, to beat Martin Laird of Scotland by three strokes at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Defending champion Jonathan Byrd and Webb Simpson, both Americans, tied for third at 19 under.
Stricker receives $1.12 million for his 12th career PGA Tour win. He earned his first four wins in 348 starts and has won eight times in 50 starts since. Stricker entered the tournament as the top-rated American golfer, at sixth overall in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“We played a lot of golf this fall with the Presidents Cup and then a couple times in December,” Stricker said in a televised interview. “So I feel that I’m a little further along than normal, and I played that way this week.”
Stricker surged into the lead by shooting a 10-under 63 during the second round and carried a five-stroke advantage into the final round.
Stricker’s lead was cut to one shot yesterday before he made three birdies over a five-hole stretch from No. 8. He closed his round with birdies on two of the final three holes.
The tournament featured a field of 27 players who won tournaments on the PGA Tour last season. World No. 1 Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel were among the eligible players who skipped the winners-only event.
The PGA Tour next moves to the big island of Hawaii for the $5.5 million Sony Open from Jan. 12 to 15 in Honolulu.