Steven Alker celebrates his breakthrough win in Florida
It just keeps getting bigger and better for Kiwi golfer Steven Alker.
In fact, no one can blame the 50-year-old for taking a few extra moments to contemplate his surroundings when he’s on the No. 1 tee in Hualalai, Hawaii on Friday (NZT).
After taking the PGA Tour champions by storm in the second half of 2021 after turning 50 and qualifying last year, Alker will tee off at 10:16 a.m. at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
He is one of seven players making their debuts in Hualalai in the 42-player field, which also includes members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, 18 PGA Tour major champions and past tournament winners.
* High-flying golfers Lydia Ko and Steve Alker chase second straight wins
* Newborn New Zealand golfer Steven Alker wins $600,000 in six weeks
* Steve Alker puts on an impressive show at the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship
* Lydia Ko of New Zealand placed third at halftime in the LPGA Kingsmill Championship
Alker lit the Tour for 50+ seconds in the 10 starts he made last year, winning the Timber Tech Championship in Florida in September and finishing in the top 10 on all but one start.
After scraping around on the Korn Ferry Tour (second only to the PGA Tour) for more than a decade, he pocketed a whopping NZ$1.628 million for his efforts and secured full status for the 2022 season.
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Steven Alker finished in the top 10 in all but one of his 10 starts on the Seniors Tour last year.
That brings direct entry into all five senior majors and opens the door to an even more lucrative 2022.
Despite a busy year, Alker recently told Newshub he could return home for the New Zealand Open, which will be held at Millbrook Resort from March 31 to April 3.
For the first time, the top three from the national tournament will secure a start at the 150th Open Championship, to be held in St Andrews in July.
New Zealand Open chairman John Hart believes it’s a coup that will draw more international players to Queenstown despite ongoing border insecurity and self-isolation.
Alker isn’t the only Kiwi to get back into action on Friday.
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Lydia Ko is back in action on the LPGA Tour on Friday when she tees off at the Tournament of Champions in Florida.
Lydia Ko, who nearly returned to her best form during last year’s LPGA Tour season, will tee off at 3:20pm NZT at the Tournament of Champions in Orlando.
Nicknamed the LPGA’s Party on Tour, the tournament will feature winners of the LPGA Tour from the previous two seasons, who competed on 72 holes without a cut for a prize purse of US$1.2 million (NZ$1.7 million). ) battle.
Qualified Pro-Am players compete alongside them, while celebrities take to the course with them in a modified format.
Ko qualified after winning the Lotte Championship in April and endured a 1084-day winning streak.
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Danny Lee is one of many Kiwis in action on several golf tours this weekend.
Danny Lee, who regained his PGA Tour card last November, is also back in action and will tee off at the 6:40 a.m. American Express tournament at La Quinta Country Club in California.
On the European Tour, Ryan Fox will tee off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday (NZT) at 17:40.