Now 50, Stricker looks forward to playing in own tourney

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Steve Stricker will finally get to play in the PGA Tour Champions event that he already hosts.

Since he turned 50 this year, Stricker is eligible to play in the American Family Insurance Championship, not far from him home in Madison, Wisconsin.

The event started last year, but Stricker could only serve as tournament host. This year's tournament starts on June 23.

Stricker is keeping a busy schedule this season playing both the Champions Tour and regular tour stops. He's coming off a strong final round on Sunday at the Colonial, when he shot a 63 in the final round and finished in a tie for seventh for 6 under.

One of the most respected players on the tour, Stricker is still hoping to qualify for the U.S. Open which starts on June 15 at Erin Hills, about 65 miles east of Madison.

Being able to play in the first U.S. Open to be held in his home state would be special for Stricker.

''I've got that drive to try to make it,'' he said. ''I've got really three opportunities to make it, the next two tournaments and then a Monday qualifier next week, 36 holes. So that's my goal.''

As for his event in Madison, Stricker said he thinks that things will be less hectic despite his dual roles because he can escape on the golf course.

''I felt like the mayor of Madison last year, shaking a lot of hands, saying `thank you' to all the sponsors ... which was, I think, very important and I enjoyed that a lot,'' Stricker said. ''This year I get to play, which I'm very much looking forward to.''

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