Wheatcroft downs Alker in playoff to win Boise Open

Boise, ID ( - Steve Wheatcroft birdied the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat Steven Alker and win the Albertsons Boise Open.

Wheatcroft fired a 6-under 65 during his final round at Hillcrest Country Club to finish the tournament at 24-under-par 260. Alker, who was the third-round leader, carded a 4-under 67 to meet him there.

The duo returned to the 18th hole for the playoff and though each player parred the same hole moments before to force the extra hole, Wheatcroft converted about a 10-foot birdie effort the second time through to earn his second career win on the Tour.

His last title came at the 2011 Melwood Prince George's County Open.

"This is unbelievable. I'm just speechless," said Wheatcroft. "I've been playing so badly this year that I thought I might be done. I lost all belief."

Justin Thomas (65) finished alone in third place at 22-under, while WNB Golf Classic winner Andrew Putnam (66), Chase Wright (66) and Zack Sucher (70) shared fourth at minus-19.

Matt Davidson (65), Daniel Berger (67) and Bill Lunde (70) tied for seventh at 17-under 267.

Alker entered the final round with a 2-stroke lead, but Sucher quickly erased that deficit with three straight birdies from the fourth to move in front at 21-under.

Alker answered with a birdie at the third to reclaim a share of the lead before Wheatcroft followed birdies at the first and second with an eagle at the third to jump to the top of the leaderboard at minus-22.

After Sucher bogeyed the sixth to leave Alker alone in second place, Wheatcroft grabbed a 2-stroke advantage with a birdie at the sixth.

Alker fought back with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th, and he was then handed a 2-shot lead when Wheatcroft tripped to consecutive bogeys at the 12th and 13th.

Wheatcroft rebounded with birdies at the 14th and 15th to get back to 23- under, and reclaim a share of the lead with Alker, who traded a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the 16th to maintain his share of the lead.

"Walking to 14 I way trying not to hang my head" Wheatcroft about his approach after his consecutive bogeys. "It was a good lesson going forward. I had to get back in the mindset to make birdies because out here nobody is going backwards."

The duo traded birdies at the 17th to reach 24-under, and neither could convert lengthy birdie efforts at the 18th to necessitate the playoff.

NOTES: Wheatcroft collected $144,000 with the win, moving him to 11th on the money list ... Wheatcroft has carded a score better than par in 26 of 28 career rounds at Hillcrest Country Club ... The playoff was the fifth in tournament history.