Alker and Voke Fly the Flag in USA

steven alker at Indian Creek
Steven Alker (PGA Tour)

Kiwi Steven Alker is in a four-way tie for the lead at the Pinnacle Bank Championships in Omaha Nebraska, the next Korn Ferry Tour event.

Alker had a floorless round with five birdies and no bogeys in his 5-under round of 66 and is tied for the lead with four Americans and Australian Ryan Ruffels.

Following the round, Alker explained he has struggled a little since the tour re-started from the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I’ve taken a few weeks off here and there just to kind of get the body right,” Alker explained after his round.

“I haven’t had a great start to the restart but I like the courses this time of year so it’s just trying to keep the game in shape and putting well.”

The only other Kiwi in the field Nick Voke has also started the tournament well with a 1-under round of 70 and is tied for 26th.

US Tours

2,300 kilometres away on the PGA Tour, Tim Wilkinson is tied for 62nd after the opening day of the Barracuda Championship in Truckee California with a plus 3. This tournament is the only PGA Tour event that uses the Modified Stableford scoring format, which encourages aggressive play.

Unlike traditional scoring methods, where the aim is to have the lowest score, the objective in a Modified Stableford tournament is to have the highest score.

Modified Stableford awards points-based on the number of strokes taken at each hole. Scoring at the 2019 Barracuda Championship will look like this:

• Double Eagle: 8 points
• Eagle: 5 points
• Birdie: 2 points
• Par: 0 points
• Bogey: -1 point
• Double Bogey or more: -3 points

Wilkinson had three birdies alongside three bogeys in his round and needs to start pressing as he heads into the weekend as the leaders have a plus 14 score after day one.

While that PGA Tour continues in California, the world’s best players are competing at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis Tennessee and former World Number one Brooks Koepka had a big day shooting an 8-under 62 to be two shots ahead of Rickie Fowler and Brendon Todd on 6-under.

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