The Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Steve Stricker finally has a national golf championship he can call his own as the record-setting winner of the U.S. Senior Open.

“I never was able to win a USGA event in my career, whether it was in the amateur ranks or when I turned pro,” said Stricker, who birdied the opening hole and never was threatened on his way to a 1-under 69 and a six-shot victory over Jerry Kelly and defending champion David Toms.

“Had some good U.S. Open finishes, but this is it,” Stricker added. “So it’s very special. It’s a great feeling to be able to hold that trophy and to be the Senior Open champion.”

Stricker finished at 19-under 261 on the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame, breaking by three shots the U.S. ­Senior Open record set two years ago by Kenny Perry at Salem Country Club.

“I kind of came here with a little chip on my shoulder from not winning last week,” Stricker said. “I felt like I had something to prove, and I just played some really, really good golf the first three days. Today was a little bit shaky at times, but what a great week. Had (wife) Nicki on the bag. My kids were here. Just a special course, special setup.”

Kelly shot a 69 to join Toms (68) at 13 under. Kelly and Stricker, rivals since they were young golfers in Wisconsin, shared a moment coming up to the 18th green.

“It was a special moment,” Stricker said. “I told Jerry, I said, ‘It’s awkward, we’re friends, we go back to junior golf.’ I want to beat his brains in out there, and he wants to do the same thing to me. But at the end of it all, we’re friends. I respect him. I love him and his family. So it was hard, especially the last two days.”

Also Sunday:

Lashley earns surprise win at Rocket Mortgage Classic: DETROIT — Nate Lashley completed an unlikely wire-to-wire victory in the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour title. Lashley closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 25-under 263 and win by six shots. Even without much drama at Detroit Golf Club, his victory was no less amazing considering what the 36-year-old has overcome. His parents and girlfriend were killed in a plane crash 15 years ago on their way home from watching him play a college tournament.

Park likely to claim top spot in world ranking after LPGA victory: ROGERS, Ark. — Sung Hyun Park two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and seventh overall. The 25-year-old Park is projected to move from second to first in the world ranking Monday.

Bezuidenhout gets 1st European Tour title: SOTOGRANDE, Spain — Christiaan Bezuidenhout closed with an even-par 71 and won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters for his first European Tour title. Bezuidenhout finished at 10-under 274 to win by six strokes.

Ventura takes Utah Championship in playoff: FARMINGTON, Utah — Kristoffer Ventura of Norway closed with a 6-under 65 and won the Utah Championship by getting up-and-down for par on the third playoff hole to beat Joshua Creel.

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