Alker outlasts van der Walt in 11-hole playoff in Ohio
06/08/2014 8:24 PM
06/08/2014 8:24 PM
Westlake, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - It took a Web.com Tour record 11 playoff holes to determine a winner at the Cleveland Open Sunday, and in the end Steven Alker tapped in a birdie putt to earn his fourth victory on tour.
The duo finished regulation at 14-under-par 270 before moving on to the playoff. Alker shot a final-round 6-under 65 and van der Walt fired a 5-under 66 at Lakewood Country Club.
The playoff began with Alker and van der Walt playing the 18th hole twice. They then played Nos. 16 through 18 three times until Alker was able to birdie the 18th.
Alker's birdie was the first non-par either player made in the 11 playoff holes. Both he and van der Walt traded pars back-and-forth before Alker was finally able to come away with a birdie.
Alker's approach shot on the final hole is what won him the tournament as he stuck it inside three feet from the hole. Van der Walt's approach was about 15 feet from the hole, but he failed to convert his birdie try.
"I had a lot of chances. I felt like I was inside of Dawie several times and had several chances to win," said Alker. "I got a little bit dizzy out there. At one point, and I can't recall when, Dawie and I looked at each other and I said 'is anybody going to win?'"
The win marks the first victory on the Web.com Tour for Alker since he claimed the Utah Championship crown in 2013. Van der Walt is a two-time European Tour champion, but he has yet to win on the Web.com Tour.
Si Woo Kim (65) finished in sole possession of third place at 13-under-par 271, while Jon Curran, Jason Gore, Jeff Curl and Ryan Armour all finished at 11-under 273. Curran shot 69 on the day as Gore, Curl and Armour all shot 70s.
Alker got off to a fast start on the day, birdieing holes three, four, seven, eight and nine before making the turn. He would birdie 10 along with Nos. 14 and 15, and he appeared to be in firm control with a 3-shot lead.
Bogeys on 17 and 18 brought Alker back down to 14-under, however, giving the rest of the field a chance, which van der Walt took advantage of.
Van der Walt came out of nowhere with a huge push on the back nine. After parring every hole on his first nine, van der Walt birdied 10 and 12. He would later make four birdies on his final five holes with a bogey sandwiched in between on No. 16. He would sink his birdie putt on 18 to force a playoff.
"I didn't think I had a chance after the bogey on 16," said van der Walt. "I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I just played 11 holes and couldn't make another birdie."
Whee Kim and Mathew Goggin were tied for the lead entering the final round, but they both struggled Sunday and were a non-factor in the end. Kim shot a 2- over 73 on the day, ending his tournament at 9-under 279. Goggin dropped four shots and finished at 7-under 277.
Early on in the final round there was a brief point when eight players were tied atop the leaderboard at 10-under, but Curl would birdie shortly after to take the lead at the time.
NOTES: Before his two bogeys on 17 and 18 in regulation, Alker had not dropped a shot in 30 holes ... Van der Walt nearly holed out his tee shot on the ninth playoff hole, but he could not convert on the nearly 10-foot putt ... Max Homa, the leader after the first round, finished the tournament at 7-under 277 after his final-round 68.