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Stricker takes first 2012 PGA Tour title

Updated: Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012 07:47

Steve Stricker - 'The birdie at eight calmed me down quite a bit and I played steady after that'
Steve Stricker - 'The birdie at eight calmed me down quite a bit and I played steady after that'

Steve Stricker became the first PGA Tour winner of 2012 with a three-shot victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui.

The 44-year-old carried a five-stroke advantage into the final round at Kapalua's Plantation Course and although Martin Laird, Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd all put him under significant pressure, he did enough to close out the win.

A birdie at the 18th gave Stricker a closing round of 69 - his fourth sub-70 score of the event as he finished 23 under.

Stricker had started the day nervily, with no birdies in his first seven holes and a bogey at the par-four sixth.

But he picked up strokes at the eighth and ninth, as well as three more after the turn to keep him ahead of the pack throughout.

Scotsman Laird was second on 20 under following a six-under round of 67 - ending the day with four birdies in the last five holes - while Simpson and Byrd were one shot further back after signing for 68s.

KJ Choi and Keegan Bradley also found some impressive January form, each carding eight under for the day.

Choi finished on 15 under, tied for fifth with Harrison Frazar.

After sealing the victory, Stricker told Sky Sports 1: "It was tough but I never let up today. I'm very proud of what I've achieved here.

"I felt it kind of slipping away [at the start of the round] but I was patient. Frustrated, but patient.

"The birdie at eight calmed me down quite a bit and I played steady after that."