Steve Stricker put the finishing touches on a record-breaking performance at the U.S. Senior Open, as he fired a round of 69, one under par, to seal a historic victory at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame.
The 52-year-old, who equaled or broke the championship record after every round of the tournament, signed off the week with a championship-tying, six-stroke margin of victory over close friend Jerry Kelly and defending champion David Toms.
The win is the American’s second Senior Major title this season after his six-shot victory at the Regions Tradition in May.
“There’s been a lot of years trying to get one of these [USGA trophies],” he said. “I won some nice events on the tour, but being a major out here, being a USGA event, a national championship, even though it's on the senior level, it's still very special. I’ve always held these USGA events to a higher standard. You wanted to play well at them. So, this one here is probably the top.
“It was a challenge, especially today when you come out with a six-shot lead, you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. And I played that way today. I played very cautiously and tried not to make a mistake. This game is hard when you play that way. I really didn’t have the freedom like I had the first three days, and rightfully so. I am trying to win this tournament and I am glad that I did.”
Stricker started the day with a six shot lead and kept his closest pursuers at arm’s length with steady and consistent golf, extending his run of consecutive bogey-free holes to 57 – from hole 6 on Thursday to the 10th hole on Sunday.
His close friend and nearest challenger Jerry Kelly carded a round of 68, two under par, to register his second straight runner-up finish in the championship, while David Toms secured the best finish by a defending champion since Colin Montgomerie in 2015 with a final round 69.
Miguel Angel Jiménez ended the week as the highest placed European, signing-off the tournament with a one over par round of 71 to finish in a share of sixth, one shot clear of Englishman Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 Senior Open Presented by Rolex champion, who continued his steady climb up the leaderboard with a final day 70.