Steve Stricker | Rapiscan Classic champion

Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker will make the PGA Tour Champions a major focus of his schedule over the next two months as a result of his play on the PGA Tour last weekend at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

The Madison golfer told Associated Press on Sunday that he will enter this week's Regions Tradition, the first major of the season on the senior circuit. The United States Golf Association announced Monday that Stricker has filed an entry as a fully exempt player for the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship to be played later next month at The Broadmoor GC in Colorado Springs.

"I'm not putting that good," Stricker told Associated Press after following up a 67-69 start at the TPC-Sawgrass with a 73-70 finish to wind up tied for 23rd. "I hit some squirrelly shots that I've been slowly working myself into. I'll go try to woark at it for four rounds at the Regions Tradition and then go play Colonial" the following week on the PGA Tour in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Regions Tradition was the only PGA Tour Champions major that Stricker played during his rookie season in 2017. He shot 71-71-70-66 and finished tied for 13th, his only finish outside the top 10 in six starts last season.

The 2017 U.S. Senior Open fell the week after the American Family Insurance Championship, the PGA Tour Champions event Stricker hosts annually at University Ridge GC in Madison. A year ago, Stricker made an exhaustive effort to play in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills near Milwaukee the week before the Am Fam Championship and then took time off from competitive golf following his event in Madison. 

"I am excited to play in my first U.S. Senior Open and I know The Broadmoor will be exceptional as a host,” said Stricker, who turned 51 on Feb. 23, posted a pair of PGA Tour Champions victories in the month of March.  “I have competed in a number of U.S. Opens, so I know that both the course and field at the Senior Open will test me in similar ways. I have been playing well so far this year and feel prepared for the challenge.

Stricker has competed in 20 U.S. Opens, including last year when he tied for 16th at Erin Hills, after earning medalist honors at the Memphis, Tenn., sectional qualifier. He has recorded 12 top-25 finishes, which also include a tie for fifth in 1998 at The Olympic Club (Lake Course), in San Francisco, and a fifth-place showing in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2. He has also competed in five Presidents Cups, with four wins as a player and one as team captain in 2017.

Online entry applications for the Senior Open began on March 7 and continue through Wednesday, May 16, at 4 p.m. CDT.