FORT WORTH, Texas – In 2009, Steve Stricker opened his week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational with a pair of 63s and eventually won the event in a playoff with longtime caddie Jimmy Johnson on the bag.
This week at Colonial, Stricker reunited with Johnson, who now works for Justin Thomas, to turn back the clock with another 63 on Sunday that wasn’t good enough for a victory but was impressive nonetheless.
The 50 year old was perfect on his opening nine with birdies at Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7 and 9 to turn in 30, and he added three more birdies on the closing loop to move to within a stroke of the lead before a bogey at the 15th hole derailed his title hopes.
“We had a great run there for a while. Brought back a lot of good memories,” said Stricker, who was tied for sixth when he completed his round. “I won with him on the bag here. It's just an easy relationship and friendship, player/caddie relationship out on the golf course.”
The top-10 finish, his first this season, will help Stricker in his quest to crack the top 60 in the World Golf Ranking and qualify for the U.S. Open, which will be played in Wisconsin where he lives.
Stricker was originally scheduled to play this week’s Senior PGA Championship, but he decided to change his schedule in an attempt to play the year’s second major.
“I knew if I wanted to play in the [U.S.] Open that I needed more starts out here to try to work on my World Ranking,” said Stricker, who is currently 98th in the world. “Then I'll try [sectional qualifying] down in Memphis, as well.”