Alker shoots 64, tied for PGA Champions Tour lead in Iowa

June 4, 2022 GMT
Fred Couples fist bumps Steven Alker, of New Zealand, right, after making his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic golf tournament, Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Fred Couples fist bumps Steven Alker, of New Zealand, right, after making his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic golf tournament, Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Fred Couples fist bumps Steven Alker, of New Zealand, right, after making his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic golf tournament, Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Fred Couples fist bumps Steven Alker, of New Zealand, right, after making his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic golf tournament, Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Fred Couples fist bumps Steven Alker, of New Zealand, right, after making his putt on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA Tour Champions Principal Charity Classic golf tournament, Saturday, June 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Steven Alker topped yet another PGA Tour Champions leaderboard Saturday, shooting an 8-under 64 for a share of the second-round lead in the Principal Charity Classic.

Coming off a victory last week in Michigan in the major Senior PGA Championship, Alker played the four par-5 holes at Wakonda Club in 5 under — making an eagle and three birdies — to match fast-closing Jerry Kelly, first-round leader Kirk Triplett and Brett Quigley at 13-under 131.

“Things are going well,” Alker said “And my caddie is saying I have got a good plan. I’m just in a good place. Just hitting the targets that I need to. And obviously putting nicely this week, too.”

Alker is trying to win for the fifth time in his last 12 events. The 50-year-old New Zealander spent the bulk of his career on the Korn Ferry Tour and a few seasons on the PGA Tour and European tour. Last week at Benton Harbor, he closed with an 8-under 63 for a three-shot victory.

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Alker birdied fourth of the first holes and added another on the par-5 eighth in a front-nine 31, then holed a 20-footer from the fringe on the par-5 13th and made his final birdie of the day on the par-5 15th.

Kelly had six straight birdies in a 66. The birdie run ended on the par-4 18th when he left a 20-footer a foot short.

“The way Alker’s playing, it’s going to take a minimum of 6 (under Sunday), I would say,” Kelly said. “But if it’s raining, all bets are off and see what happens. Mother Nature dictates scores more than anything. But you got a guy with a hot hand right now, and certainly can’t let him skate away early.”

The 60-year-old Triplett followed an opening 63 with a 68.

Quigley shot 66, making birdies on the final three holes.

Bernhard Langer was a stroke back after a 66. The 64-year-old German star birdied three of the last five holes in a bogey-free round.

Steve Stricker was 8 under after a 67 a week after having to withdraw from the Senior PGA because of a positive COVID-19 test result. He won the major in Alabama in his previous start.

Fred Couples also was in the group at 8 under, shooting 69.

Defending champion Stephen Ames was 6 under after a 67.