Alker part of 4-way tie for Champions Tour lead

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DES MOINES, Iowa — 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.

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.

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