Steve Stricker shot a final-round 70 to claim the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
The Wisconsin native finished his final day at Firestone Country Club’s famed South Course with three birdies against three bogeys to settle on 7-under par.
“It was so hard. It’s so hard to have a lead,” said Stricker. “And then to play with a friend, Jerry, out there, basically it’s his home course.
“This is exactly what he grew up on in Madison, Wisconsin. He plays well here. I could tell that he was playing well and I’m just trying to hang on.
“It’s tough to play when you’re not that aggressive, but I’m happy. It was a tough fight.”
It was Stricker’s seventh career Champions Tour win, and third major title (2019 Tradition, 2020 U.S. Senior Open, 2021 SENIOR PLAYERS).
Jerry Kelly was alone in second on 1 under following a Sunday 72, which included four bogeys on his final five holes to fall way off the pace.
“The wind gusted up on me. I tried to flight a cut, you know. I mean, I was trying to do a little bit too much to get it in there,” said Kelly, when asked how the wheels fell off at the end.
“It’s like you bring it within 2 and you want to go for a kill shot with a 4-iron, probably not the smartest move. I pushed it into some heavy sand and I hadn’t felt a bunker like that out there this week, but I haven’t felt too many bunkers.
“Left it short, just missed it, you know. Then misread the next putt. I hit the exact same shot, the same 4-iron shot, just head moves a little bit quick, I’m in front of it, it blocks it off and it goes shorter. It had no chance of being — no chance of not getting over the water with any solid shot.”
Fred Couples carded a low-round 67 to move into a tie for third with David Toms (70) at even-par 280.
Ernie Els (72) rounded out the top-5 finishers in Akron with a 2-over par 282.
2021 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
Round-4 Leaderboard: Top-5
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 4)
1. Steve Stricker -7 (E)
2. Jerry Kelly -1 (+2)
3. Fred Couples E (-3)
4. David Toms E (E)
5. Ernie Els +2 (+2)
6. Jim Furyk +3 (+3)
7. Rod Pampling +4 (E)
7. Rocco Mediate +4 (E)
7. Kevin Sutherland +4 (+3)
10. Tim Petrovic +5 (+1)
10. Paul Broadhurst +5 (+3)
Material from the PGA Tour Media was used to compile this report.