THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Steven Alker won the Insperity Invitational for the second straight year Sunday, closing with a 6-under 66 for a four-shot victory over Steve Stricker and his first title of the year on the PGA Tour Champions.
Alker pulled away from Stricker on the back nine with five birdies in a seven-hole stretch for a 31 on the back nine, and he had an emotional moment of reflection when it was over.
His former caddie, Sam Workman, was from the Houston area. Workman last caddied in January in Hawaii before being diagnosed with cancer. He died about a month later.
Stricker was five shots behind going into the final round. He was slowed by a double bogey on the third hole, but wound up with nine birdies in his round of 65. The runner-up finish enabled Stricker to take the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup over David Toms, who tied for third with Colin Montgomerie.
Alker, who finished at 15-under 201, won for the first time this year. He won the Charles Schwab Cup last year and was voted player of the year.
“I hit it great off the tee and hit some nice iron shots, and I got it done on the back,” Alker said. “I haven’t defended a championship. I had a whole bunch of reasons today to try and win this golf tournament, and it worked out.”
Stricker knew he needed a big closing round to have a chance and his tee shot into the water on the par-3 third hole was going to cost him. But he played with Alker on Friday and could see him playing well. Stricker also noticed plenty of orange Houston Astros gear in honor of his late caddie.
“It’s meant to be for him here, really,” Stricker said. “His caddie passing a few months ago, big Houston guy. I saw some Houston Astros jerseys walking around the course today, saw some at breakfast this morning. It’s good that he’s going to win here.”