Two rounds in, Steve Stricker remains the man to beat at the Regions Tradition.
The 2019 Tradition champ shot a 4-under 68 Friday to close the day with a 2-stroke lead in the first major of the 2022 PGA TOUR Champions schedule.
But it won’t be a cakewalk for the Wisconsin native.
Scott McCarron and Pádraig Harrington turned in sizzling rounds at Birmingham’s Greystone Golf & Country Club and are tied for second at 9-under. Ernie Els finished in the Alabama heat 8-under while Stuart Appleby, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Steven Alker are tied for fifth at 7-under.
There may not be a more interesting story on the tour than Alker. A New Zealander, he bounced around the game of golf since he first turned pro in 1995, but most of his success came overseas – primarily in the PGA Tour Australia and the European Tour.
There were moments in the states – he competed in majors in the ‘90s and early 2000s. But he had to qualify for his Champions Tour start in 2021, the Boeing Classic. Since then, he’s become one of the circuit’s stars. He reeled off four top 10 finishes before winning the TimberTech Challenge last November.
Since the ’22 season began, he’s added two more titles: the Rapiscan Systems Challenge in April and the Insperity Invitational two weeks ago in suburban Houston.
A fixture on the Champions Tour, and one of the most significant events on the Birmingham sports scene, Regions and the PGA TOUR announced on Wednesday an extension to keep the Tradition here for nine more years through 2032.
Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the Tradition has raised more than $20 million charitable dollars, with the bulk going to Children’s of Alabama, which serves the medical needs of children from across the Southeast.
In addition, the tournament has an annual economic impact of more than $25 million, helping fuel small businesses, nonprofits and community development throughout the Birmingham metro.
In case you missed it, prior to the beginning of championship play, the PGA Champions took to the course with celebrities from the world of college football, the NBA and Major League Baseball in the annual Celebrity Pro-Am. Find more on that here.
Stay with Doing More Today for the duration of the Regions Tradition for continued coverage of the tournament.