WESTLAKE, Ohio – New Zealand’s Steven Alker won the Cleveland Open on Sunday in the longest playoff in Web.com Tour history, beating South Africa’s Dawie van der Walt with a birdie on the 11th extra hole.
Alker and van der Walt parred for first 10 holes in the playoff at Lakewood Country Club before Alker finally broke through with a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th.
“I finally had a right number,” the 42-year-old Alker said. “I had 172 yards and just hit a perfect 7-iron. … I had a lot of chances. I felt like I was inside of Dawie several times and had several chances to win. 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 `Is anybody going to win?'”
The 11-hole playoff broke the tour record of nine set it 1998 in Eric Booker’s victory over Notah Begay III in the Lehigh Valley Open, and matched in 2009 in Gary Christian’s win over Mathias Gronberg in the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. It also matched the record for the longest playoff in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, set in the 1949 Motor City Open when Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum were declared co-winners because of darkness.
Alker bogeyed the final two holes of regulation for a 6-under 65, and van der Walt birdied the last two holes – holing a 20-footer on 18 – for a 66. They finished at 14-under 270 on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed course that opened in 1921.
“I didn’t think I had a chance after the bogey on 16 (in regulation),” van der Walt said. “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I just played 11 holes and couldn’t make another birdie.”
Alker earned $108,000 to jump from 102nd to 12th on the money list with $125,180. He has four career victories on the tour.
“It’s very satisfying,” said Alker, who successfully qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday in California. “I won last year and then to come out and win again this year is really pleasing since I haven’t been in the habit of doing that.”
South Korea’s Si Woo Kim was a stroke back after a 65.
Jon Curran, Jason Gore, Jeff Curl and Ryan Armour tied for fourth at 11 under.
Adam Hadwin of Moose Jaw, Sask. clinched a top 10 finish shooting 72, 69, 66, and 67 throughout the tournament.
Team Canada Young Pro Squad members Mackenzie Hughes tied for 55th carding 73, 67, 70, 73 and team mate Albin Choi finished 62nd with 69, 72, 70, 74.