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.”
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.