Canadian Stephen Ames, who won the 2006 Players Championship, and four-time Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa both carded six-under 65 to close within a shot of the lead, putting the pressure on Alker over the closing holes.
On the 18th, he flirted with water with his second shot and had convert and up-and-down opportunity for victory. His third from off the green rolled within a few feet of the hole and Alker completed his task with a pinpoint putt for a one-under 70 on the day, 18-under for the tournament.
After taking out the overall championship crown last year, Alker’s win elevated him to second – and a $US500,000 bonus – with this result, unable to catch American Steve Stricker, who bypassed the event to be with his ailing father.
The tournament purse took his earnings for the day to US$1 million (NZ$1.7m).
Since Workman’s passing, Troy Martin has been on Alker’s bag, but the Kiwi teared up at the tributes for his former righthand man – a huge Houston Astros baseball fan – around the course over the weekend.
“After Sam passed, Troy’s been a stud,” he croaked. “I’m glad I got a flag for him today – that was huge.
“You see the signs around and people talking. ‘Go Sam’ and ‘Go Astros’… I heard a lot of that over the week.
“He was here somewhere… it was great to get this one.”