Steve Alker file photo – Bruce Young
New Zealander, Steve Alker, turned 50 just a month ago but in his first two attempts on the PGA Tour Champions he has already proven he could well be a force to be reckoned with.
Alker finished 6th in last week’s Boeing Classic in Washington State after Monday qualifying for the event and today, at the Ally Championship in Grand Blanc in Michigan, where he earned a start courtesy of his top ten last week, Alker recorded a third place finish just two behind the winner, Joe Durant, and one behind PGA Tour Champions legend, Bernhard Langer.
Alker will earn US$144,000, one of the biggest cheques of his career, and the finish inside the top ten should assure him of a start at the Ascension Charity Classic in St Louis in ten days’ time.
“Yeah, yeah, this week was great,” said Alker. “I just enjoyed the week and had fun. Just lucky to be here. Last week was a fun week as well, first week.
“I just kind of kept it rolling, I just kind of kept my nose clean most of the week. I think my first bogey was like on
my fifth hole today this week, so I was just pleased I could keep it in the fairway and had a lot of chances, so it was fun.
“I’m done with Korn Ferry and I’m just coming out here and joining the 50 Club and trying to keep it going”
Other than the amazing performance of Sir Bob Charles when he was one of the dominant forces on the then Senior Tour in the 1980’s and 1990’s, New Zealand has had little if any presence on the US tour for the over 50’s but Alker’s tidy game and outstanding golf swing appear to be suited to the slightly shorter courses in use on the PGA Tour Champions.
Alker does not yet have status on the PGA Tour Champions and dependent on how things develop over the next few weeks he will likely have to attend the Tour School but he is showing that by being competitive on the Korn Ferry Tour until the age of 50 (he finished 5th three weeks ago) he has the game to compete at this level.