American Family Insurance Championship

by | Jun 8, 2024 | Pro News

Steve Stricker and Ernie Els Share the Lead in Madison, WI

Tournament host and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker birdied six holes Saturday, including four of his last five, to share the second-round lead with Ernie Els. Both are 9-under par, with only Sunday’s final round remaining at the American Family Insurance Championship.

“I get a lot of support here. I feel that love right away from the first tee on. And then, especially when I can finish the way I did today, it made things a lot more fun and enjoyable, got me right back in the tournament,” said Stricker after shooting a 6-under par 64 Saturday.

Els, the four-time major winner, began moving day one under after an opening round 71 on the University Ridge Golf Course, which is in its final year of hosting this tournament, before moving to TPC Wisconsin, designed by Stricker.

U.S. Open winner David Duval is alone in third place, two shots back at 7-under thanks to a second round 4-under par 68.

While Jerry Kelly, who won this tournament in 2019 and 2021, is in the hunt with Tim O’Neal, three strokes behind the leaders in a tie for fourth place at minus 6.

“We know we can go low out here on this golf course, so getting myself back, what am I, within three? That’s totally doable, so I’m happy,” said Kelly.

O’Neal is chasing his first PGA TOUR Champions win in his 38th start. The Georgia native seeks his first top-ten finish in the 12 tournaments he’s played this season.

“You know, all I can do is give myself chances to win and then put myself in that position, and whatever happens, happens. All I can do is play my best. But the more opportunities, the more times that I’m here, I think eventually I’ll get it. Hopefully, I have more chances before the year’s over,” reflected O’Neal.

Stricker, who, in his prime, won the John Deere Classic in three consecutive years (2009-2011), seeks a repeat here, which would set up some interesting conversations in 2025.

Still, we’d need to see a repeat before another three-peat.


17th hole at TPC Wisconsin, where this tournament will be played next year

There’s much to be done as Els is now 30 under par in his last five rounds on the PGA TOUR Champions, dating back to his victory last week in Des Moines at the Principal Charity Championship.

“Obviously, Ernie’s been playing well; he won last week, just Hall of Famer; he’s going to come with everything he’s got. But it will be fun. It will be a good challenge, and hopefully, the weather will cooperate for a day,” added Stricker.


About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">George McNeilly</a>

George McNeilly

George McNeilly is an award-winning multimedia broadcaster, producer and writer with a journalism background that has spanned the globe from four Olympics, 17 Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, Major College Football, Basketball and Professional Golf. A former Senior ESPN executive, George teaches Sports Business at Full Sail University and is managing partner of McNeilly Communications.