Steven Alker pulls away at Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Posted on: 12 Nov, 2023 at 04:03 AM
Credit: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
New Zealand's Steven Alker shot a 6-under 65 on Saturday to pull away for sole possession of the lead after three rounds of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
Alker entered the day tied with Marco Dawson for the lead before carding seven birdies against one bogey to build a four-stroke advantage at 17-under 196 for the tournament. German Alex Cejka sits in second after shooting a third-round 68.
Meanwhile, Dawson stumbled to a 3-over 74 to drop 12 spots into a tie for 13th.
Even though he created some separation from the rest of the pack, Alker still plans on being aggressive on Sunday.
"I'm swinging it well. Just pick my targets. Troy (Alker's caddie) and I did great today just picking targets and then go. Again, you know, made a few putts early on and then cruised home," Alker said. "Still the mindset there's a 63, 62 out there, who knows, so I've just got to keep pedal to the metal."
Alker was especially strong on the front nine on Saturday, collecting four birdies through the first seven holes, including a pair at the par-4 fourth and the par-4 fifth.
"Just got off to a great start on the front just every day, which has been helpful just to get those early birdies," Alker said. "It's not that I've kind of slowed down, I've still hit my targets, I've made some birdies. I made a couple bogeys on the back, but just a few more putts here and there, I think that's the difference, just the old putter."
Cejka had some trouble staying consistent, going bogey-birdie-bogey at Nos. 6-8 after picking up birdies at the par-5 first and the par-4 third. He then grabbed three more birdies on the back nine in addition to a bogey at the par-4 12th.
Still, Cejka feels good about playing at Phoenix Country Club after a second-place finish at last year's Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
"I'm more a West Coast player, you know, living here on the West Coast. I like the grass, I like the courses we have here," Cejka said. "I don't know, the last couple years I really like the course, it fits my game pretty good and the greens are in perfect shape. You've just got to give yourself good looks. And 3 under is pretty good.
"I didn't really play as good as the last couple days, but I scrambled it together."
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Ireland's Padraig Harrington shot matching third-round 69s and sit in a tie for third at 12-under 201, five strokes off the lead. Harrington won the event in 2022.
A group of five golfers sit T5, including South Korean Y.E. Yang (67 on Saturday), South African Ernie Els (69) and Stephen Ames of Canada (69).
Dicky Pride posted the low round of the day with a 7-under 64 to move 12 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 19th.
--Field Level Media