Streelman finding groove at The Barclays
PARAMUS, N.J. – Sometimes all it takes is one shot to change a golfer’s fortunes. Kevin Streelman was stuck in neutral at even–par on for the tournament on his 9th hole of the day when he chipped in for birdie from 31 feet off the green at the par-4, 18th hole. Six more birdies later he’d posted 8-under 63, the low round of the tournament, vaulting him from the cut line and Playoff oblivion to within a stroke of the lead.
His father, Dennis, witnessed the hot streak and wasn’t the least bit surprised with his son’s birdie binge.
“When he starts making birdies, it’s buckle your seat belts and enjoy the ride,” he said.
Streelman entered the tournament ranked No. 102 in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and knowing he would need a respectable finish to advance to next week. The third-year pro returned to the scene of what he called “probably my favorite week on Tour.” He held the 54-hole lead the last time The Barclays was held at Ridgewood Country Club, a course not far from those of his family’s roots.
“It’s pretty special to me,” he said. “My grandparents are buried right off No. 7 there. And it’s home for my parents.”
The Streelman’s, who met in kindergarten, were raised in nearby Glen Rock, N.J., and spent 30 years there before they moved to Chicago.
“Then they had me right when they got to Chicago,” he said.
There is perhaps another reason for Streelman’s sudden surge besides the old cliché of catching lightning in a bottle or the old saw of horses for courses. After what amounted to a 3-month trial separation of sorts, Streelman reunited with his instructor, Alasdair Dyer, the director of instruction at Barefoot Resort & Golf Club in Myrtle Beach. They spent three days together in Chicago before the Wyndham Championship last week.
“He just got me back to my old fundamentals,” Streelman said.
It clicked early last week in Greensboro, where he opened with 64-65, and again on his back nine Friday (29 coming home). It all started with one delightful chip and ended with a 43-foot, 6-inch birdie putt to complete the round.
“It was like, ‘Let’s keep it going.’ Then the birdies started flowing after that,” he said. “I was like while we’re at it, let’s try to get to the top of the leaderboard.”
He almost did.