Stricker holds off Laird challenge to start 2012 with victory in Hawaii
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 /01/10/article-2084566-0F655B1900000578-926_224x343.jpg” width=”224″ height=”343″ alt=”Silver lining: Steve Stricker” class=”blkBorder” />
Sealed with a kiss: Steve Stricker celebrates with the trophy and his wife Nicki
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Stricker had made a nervy start to the day, 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 /01/10/article-2084566-0F656E0C00000578-131_468x407.jpg” width=”468″ height=”407″ alt=”Not enough: Martin Laird finished three shots off the pace in Hawaii” class=”blkBorder” />
Not enough: Martin Laird finished three shots off the pace in Hawaii
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 said: 'It was tough but I never let up. 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.'