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Alker, Fox make big final round charges

Steven Alker PGA Tour Champions golf
Steven Alker made eight birdies and an eagle in his final round at The Tradition. PHOTO: PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

New Zealand golfers Steven Alker and Ryan Fox made final day charges at tournaments in the US but ultimately came up short.

Alker finished runner-up at The Tradition, the PGA Tour Champions' first senior major of 2024, in Alabama, while Fox finished tied for fourth at the PGA Tour's Myrtle Beach Classic in South Carolina on Sunday (Monday NZ Time).

Starting the day tied for 13th, Alker fired a nine-under 63 in the fourth round at Greystone Golf Club to reach 15-under, two strokes behind the winner, American Doug Barron, who did enough to hold with a bogey-free four-under 68.

Alker got on a heater early, with an eagle at the par-five second, followed by birdies at the third and fifth, getting him comfortably in the top-10 and four off the lead.

The 52-year-old followed by further birdies at the eighth, 11th, 13th and 14th holes to put pressure on Barron, before a lone bogey at the 15th stalled his momentum. He closed with his seventh and eighth birdies of the day at the 16th and 18th.

Alker collected US$228,800 and increased his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup season standings with his third runner-up finish and sixth top-four result in eight PGA Tour Champions starts.

Fellow Kiwi Michael Campbell moved up to a share of 50th after a final-round two-under 70 featuring three birdies and a bogey.

An outsider to challenge for the title despite starting Sunday tied for seventh, Fox produced a four-under 67, featuring six birdies and a double-bogey at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach.

The 37-year-old birdied the second and fourth holes but his charge hit a roadblock at the par-three ninth when his tee shot went into the green-side rough, he chunked his chip and missed a three-footer for bogey.

Fox recovered with back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th, then 16th and 17th holes for his best individual finish on the PGA Tour. The Myrtle Beach Classic was a secondary event, with the elevated Wells Fargo Championship the same weekend.

The world No 61 pocketed US$147,000 and 59.167 points, leaving him 119th in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings.

It was a different story for Lydia Ko at the LPGA Tour's Founders Cup in Clifton, New Jersey.

Ko carded a one-under 71, with four birdies, a bogey and double-bogey, at the Upper Montclair Country Club on Sunday (Monday NZT) to slide into a tie for 35th at two-under, 22 shots behind the winner, American Rose Zhang.

The world No 10 birdied the opening hole, before dropping a shot at the second and two shots at the third. She recovered on the back-nine, with birdies at the 11th, 14th and 17th holes to get back into red numbers.

Ko earned US$15,966 and remained a distant second behind American Nelly Korda in the LPGA Tour's Road to the CME Globe standings.

At the Ladies European Tour's (LET) Aramco Team Series tournament in Seoul, South Korea, Momoka Kobori finished in a share of 27th at five-over after a two-over 74 in the final round on Sunday.

Kobori produced two birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey to earn US$4587 to keep her 13th in the LET's Order of Merit.


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