Steven Alker of New Zealand broke away from the pack with three consecutive birdies late Sunday to win the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va., and expand his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.
Alker was part of a five-way tie for first at 11 under at one point during the final round. Then he birdied the par-4 15th, par-5 16th and par-3 17th holes at The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course. He shot a 4-under 68 to finish the first leg of the playoffs at 14-under 202.
K.J. Choi of South Korea (67) birdied his final hole to get to 13 under and sole possession of second.
Alker entered the week with a healthy 344,360-point lead in the Schwab Cup standings. Per the Golf Channel broadcast, he’ll be 749,960 points ahead of second-place Padraig Harrington of Ireland after Sunday’s results are tabulated.
Alker was asked if the back nine was his most important golf of the season.
“Well, we’ll find out in a couple weeks, you know what I mean?” Alker said. “But certainly right there and then, that was huge to grab those (birdies). And I just kind of settled down.”
Alker, 51, joined the tour full-time last season and won four tournaments between November 2021 and May 2022 before claiming his fifth title Sunday.
“I was trying not to look at the leaderboard, because there was so many guys just trying to win this golf tournament,” Alker said. “I made those clutch birdies on 15, 16, and especially 17, that was huge.”
Harrington (69), Doug Barron (69) and Jerry Kelly (72) finished in a tie for third at 12 under. Kelly led the tournament after each of the first two rounds. Ernie Els of South Africa (67) and Brian Gay (69) tied for sixth at 11 under.
There are two tournaments remaining in the Schwab Cup playoffs. The top 54 players in the standings after Sunday will qualify for the second leg, the TimberTech Championship, in two weeks. Scott McCarron, who tied for 46th this week at 1 under for the tournament, was projected to keep the 54th and final spot.
–Field Level Media