March 27, 2023
Steve Alker and daughter Skye each have their own race in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Steve Alker and daughter Skye each have their own race in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship

PHOENIX — With birdie opportunities being taken by their leader at a feverish rate, these feisty members of Team Alker had plenty to cheer about in the second round of the Charles Schwab Cup championship on Friday at Phoenix Country Club.

But if Steve Alker’s calm demeanor on the ropes could be compared to anything outside, it would have to be his daughter Skye’s gentle demeanor. She certainly appreciates what her dad is about to accomplish this week, but there’s a deeper fondness for how he has centered her athletic challenge at home.

As you can see, Skye Alker will be competing with her Fountain Hills High School teammates at the Arizona State High School Cross-Country Championships on Saturday. This competition will be held at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix, around the same time as Steve Alker begins his third round at the Phoenix CC.

But according to Skye, “He talks about my race all week; it’s all he talked about.”

If Steve Alker and his wife Tanya are proud of Skye’s achievement as a runner this fall, it’s with good reason. “She really pushed for it as soon as she made up her mind,” Tanya said. “Your improvement was incredible.”

Kind of sounds like Steve Alker’s incomparable career turnaround, doesn’t it? The only difference is that Steve Alker was 100 percent invested in this PGA TOUR Champions journey, while Skye laughingly admits she waited almost to the last minute to appear for the team this year.

As Skye paced the gallery keeping an eye on her father’s progress – four birdies out, three more in and this head-to-head with Padraig Harrington continuing – she seemed to enjoy the vocal and colorful support of Team Alker members.

They’ve been decked out in neat black sweater vests for two days, and Skye’s verdict: “I like them better than last year.” When Steve Alker finished second at the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Team Alker members wore colorful tie-dye T-shirts.

This year, Steve Alker’s addition to that elite field might not be as shocking as 21. However, with Fountain Hills being just 32 miles from Phoenix CC, his fan club is always present and fully engaged. Skye Alker is loving this part of this Charles Schwab Cup championship.

But back then, on November 3rd, the limelight of the championship at Alker belonged to her. Skye Alker ran the 5K in a personal best of 21:16.9 and finished eighth in the state sections. Her time was good enough to qualify her for the state finals, but sweet got even sweeter when her entire team qualified.

“I know the course. I’ve run it before, so I’m really excited,” Skye said.

Her father is from New Zealand and her mother is from England, but for reasons that make the family laugh, both Skye and her older brother Ben speak with their mother’s British accent.

Don’t add that to the years the children lived in England, Tanya laughed. “She (points to Skye) lived there from the age of 9 months until she was 4 years old. She lived most of her life.”

When asked why she wasn’t attracted to her father’s New Zealand accent, Skye burst out laughing. “Because nobody would understand us.”

Ben, who will watch the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Saturday, “has an even more appropriate British accent,” Skye said.

By the end of the day, another afternoon without bogeys had put Alker up to 13-under and leading by a margin over Harrington. The tournament victory and the victory in this year’s competition were still in the hands of Alker, but another sporting competition was in the foreground of his thoughts.

“That’s more important,” he said in reference to Skye’s race. “I can’t check my phone during class, but maybe someone (in the gallery) can tell me what’s going on.”

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