Steve Stricker completed an improbable comeback from a health scare last winter by winning the Regions Tradition, the first major of the PGA Tour Champions season, by six shots Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.
Stricker led wire-to-wire at Greystone Golf Country Club for his second Regions Tradition title. His final-round 68 finished off a 21-under 267, six better than Ireland's Padraig Harrington in second place.
The 55-year-old who captained the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall was hospitalized for two weeks with what he termed a "mystery illness" over the winter. He lost 25 pounds as a result and only began competing on the Champions Tour again in April. The Tradition was his third tournament back.
"It's been a long time," Stricker said through tears on the Golf Channel broadcast. "Where I was last November, even a couple of months ago, to come full circle here and to come out here and get a W, it means a lot."
Stricker stayed bogey-free while holing four birdies Sunday. He made only two bogeys for the entire event. It was his eighth win on the 50-and-older circuit and his fourth senior major.
Harrington, 50, found a much wilder way to shoot 68 Sunday. He combined eight birdies with a double bogey and two bogeys, including a 3-over stretch at the par-3 fourth and par-5 fifth holes.
Five players tied for third at 14 under: Ernie Els of South Africa (68 Sunday), Australians Rod Pampling (67) and Stuart Appleby (69), Steven Alker of New Zealand (72) and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain (70).
--Field Level Media