Steve Stricker Relishes Moment As Inaugural Sanford International Champion

Sports

Steve Stricker is the inaugural champion of the Sanford International after shooting 13-under during the 54-hole event.​​​​​​

Stricker jumped to the top of the leader board after the opening round on Friday and that’s where he sat all weekend, earning his third PGA TOUR Champions victory of the season. 

Wisconsin native Steve Stricker was one of the PGA Tour Champions top golfers who did not have a chance to play the full 18-hole course at Minnehaha Country Club before teeing off, due to last week’s rainy weather.

“I’ve never felt so unprepared in my life playing a golf tournament. You usually get around a couple times at least,” Stricker said. 

That proved to be no problem for the Sanford International champion who was tied for the lead after each of the first two rounds, before securing Sunday’s victory by four strokes.

“Once you get that lead, you know, it’s like a different mentality sets in. You’re trying not to make a mistake. It gets a little bit harder to play. I did my best. I was just trying to make pars and keep moving along, and it was good to hang on and a good finish,” Stricker said. 

This tournament win was especially memorable for Stricker, because of his close relationship and the Wisconsin roots he shares with tournament host, Andy North.

“I grew up idolizing him in Wisconsin. He was a guy that we looked up to and the winner of two U.S. Opens. I’ve gotten to be real close with him and friends with him over the years. So it’s very special for me to win here,” Stricker said. 

Stricker says he may try to play more of the PGA TOUR next season, but hopes to be back in Sioux Falls for year two of the Sanford International. 

“When you win at a place, it always gives you some very good feelings and memories. Andy being here, I’ll be back for sure. I mean, there’s no doubt I’m going to be back and I look forward to coming back,” Stricker said.

Following his win, Stricker traveled with the U.S. team to Paris last night and will serve as a vice captain for the Ryder Cup this week. 

Next year’s Sanford International is set for September 16 through the 22nd.

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