KAPALUA, Hawaii – When reports filtered in Thursday that Kevin Streelman’s pro-am group was laboring two holes behind, a PGA Tour official took a ride out. When the official asked Streelman if he wanted them to speed up the amateurs, Streelman said no.
“It’s not them,” Streelman said. “It’s me.”
Conceding that his heart and thoughts were back home in Scottsdale, Ariz., where wife Courtney was with daughter Sophia, born Dec. 26, Streelman conceded he was lethargic and “not really with it” during the pro-am. After all, the decision to make the trip to Maui had only been arrived at Tuesday and Streelman arrived here Wednesday.
Seemingly refreshed by a good night’s sleep Thursday, the soft-spoken Streelman was a different golfer when the bell went off in Round 1 at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course. He holed out from 97 yards to eagle the par-4 third, birdied the par-4 fourth, then hit a 191-yard shot to 15 feet and eagled the par-5 fifth.
Out in 5-under 31, he added birdies at the 11th, 12th and 14th to get to 8 under before finishing with bogeys at 17 and 18 for a 6-under 67.
From the solo lead to 6 under and one behind the leaders, it was hardly the finishing touch Streelman envisioned. But neither was it a gut-wrenching development. That’s because Streelman had been immersed in perspective much of the last month and knows what’s really important.
“I feel very, very fortunate,” Streelman said. “Courtney is a trooper. We went through a lot to have this child, and it’s been amazing.”
Courtney Streelman suffered from cholestasis, a liver disease in which pregnancy hormones affect the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder. The ailment afflicts about 1 in 1,000 women, typically in the late stages of pregnancy, and usually subsides shortly after delivery. She consulted doctors before deciding to have a Caesarean section weeks before her Feb. 3 due date. There were harrowing moments, and Streelman said husband and wife held their breaths when Sophia was born. They waited for the obligatory noise, but there was silence for about five seconds. “Then, a big scream – the best scream ever,” Streelman said.
Sophia, at 5 pounds, was in intensive care. For a week, Streelman didn’t even think of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, his spot in the field having been earned by his victory at the Tampa Bay Championship. Courtney encouraged her husband to make the trip, which he did, perhaps not reluctantly, but certainly with much of his concern focused on wife and daughter.