Steve Stricker made a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to outduel Robert Karlsson and win the Sanford International on Sunday at Sioux Falls, S.D.
Stricker shot a final-round 64 and Karlsson carded a 66 as both golfers finished at 14-under 196.
Stricker put together a bogey-free round but he was a bit anxious as he eyed his seventh birdie of the round on the playoff hole (No. 18).
“I just didn’t want to mess up basically and that’s what leads to nervousness, I guess,” Stricker said after his third victory of the year. “To have that putt, that opportunity is exciting, but it’s nerve wracking all at the same time.”
The victory was the second in the past three events for Stricker. The 55-year-old won The Ally Challenge in late August and finished third at the Ascension Charity Classic last week.
Stricker made four birdies in five holes on the back nine — the spree ended at No. 16 — as he battled with the 53-year-old Karlsson of Sweden.
Karlsson had birdies on 16 and 17 to set up the duo going to a playoff.
Karlsson made par on the playoff hole before Stricker’s winner but he was pleased with how he played.
“It’s more important that I played well and it’s a long time since I was in the last group,” Karlsson said. “Felt pretty good out there, so it was good, it was a good week. I had no complaints, no regrets.”
South Africa’s Ernie Els shot 66 and finished third at 12 under. Els eagled the par-5, No. 4 and had five birdies and three bogeys.
Els needed a birdie on 18 to make it a three-way playoff but instead bogeyed the hole.
“I hit that loose tee shot on 18 and three-putted,” Els said. “All in all, I’m moving in the right direction. I’m getting closer to where I want to be, getting in contention a couple more times now. I’ve just got to get going, and keep it going.”
Brandt Jobe (64), Paul Stankowski (67) and Jeff Maggert (69) tied for fourth at 11-under 199.
Steve Flesch (68), Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (66), South Korea’s Y.E. Yang (66) and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68) tied for seventh at 10 under.
Defending champion Darren Clarke (68) of Northern Ireland finished at 9-under 201 as part of a five-way for 11th.