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Alker tied for fourth at rain-hit event

Steven Alker PGA Tour Champions golf
Steven Alker's chance to win the Insperity Invitational was dashed by heavy rain. PHOTO: GOLF NZ

Rain has denied Kiwi golfer Steven Alker a chance to win the PGA Tour Champions' Insperity Invitational for the third straight year.

Alker finished tied for fourth, two shots back of the winner, American Scott Dunlap, after heavy rain in the Houston, Texas area forced the third and final round on Sunday (Monday NZ Time) to be cancelled.

The tournament at The Woodlands Country Club was shortened to 36 holes, which were all played on Saturday (Sunday NZT) after the opening round on Friday (Saturday NZT) was postponed due to rain.

Alker made a strong start, with back-to-back birdies, before another at the seventh, with a bogey sandwiched between at the fourth. He made birdies at the 13th and 17th holes for a four-under 68, to be tied for sixth.

Starting his second round at the 10th hole, the 52-year-old made birdies at the 15th, 16th, third and seventh holes, with a lone bogey at the sixth, for a three-under 69.

It was Alker's third straight top-five finish and fifth in seven tournaments in 2024, increasing his lead atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings.

It was a similar story on the DP World Tour, where New Zealand golfer Daniel Hillier finished in a share of 23rd after the third round of the China Open on Saturday was cancelled due to thunder and lightning.

Hillier could only manage an even-par 72 in the final round on Sunday to remain at eight-under, dropping 12 places and finishing 10 strokes behind Spanish winner Adrian Otaegui.

The 25-year-old, who was inside the top-10 after a bogey-free five-under 67 in the opening round on Thursday, double-bogeyed the fifth holes, before birdies at the ninth and 11th holes on the last day.

Weather also denied Harry Hillier a shot at the title at the PGA Tour Americas' Kia Open in Ecuador.

Hillier's solid form to begin 2024 continued at the Quito Tenis Y Golf Club, finishing tied for third at 13-under after three rounds to shit three shots back of the lead, before the final round was cancelled due to inclement weather.

The Te Puke-based professional started the event with the second-best opening round, a seven-under-65, before shooting 71 and 67 in rounds two and three.

He is projected to move up 34 places in the Fortinet Cup standings to 20th. The top-10 at the season’s end earn exempt Korn Ferry Tour memberships for 2025.

Harry’s older brother Charlie finished in equal-60th at three-under, shooting rounds of 72, 69, and 72.

Meanwhile, Danny Lee plummeted down the leaderboard after a disappointing weekend at the LIV Singapore tournament.

Lee carded a five-over 76, featuring four birdies, seven bogeys and a double-bogey, on Saturday, before a two-under 69, with five birdies and three bogeys, in the final round on Sunday.

He ended tied for 49th, out of 54 golfers, at four-over, a whopping 19 shots behind American winner Brooks Koepka.

On the Epson Tour, Fiona Xu’s solid start to her rookie season continues with another tie for 20th at the Casino Del Sol Classic, shooting rounds of 69, 70, and 71 at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona, finishing five shots behind Madison Young.

She moves up a spot to seventh in the Race for the Card standings.

Fellow Kiwi Amelia Garvey, who has qualified for the Women's US Open, missed the cut.


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