5 Things: 7 straight birdies give Streelman win
While Sergio Garcia, K.J. Choi and Aaron Baddeley juggled the lead Sunday, Kevin Streelman ran off seven straight birdies to close out a 64 and watch his 15-under total stand up to win the 2014 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
Here are 5 Things to know from Cromwell, Conn.
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1. OPEN THE BIRDCAGE: Kevin Streelman's Sunday 64 was his second in a row – he'd made the cut with just two shots to spare before blitzing the course all weekend.
Streelman set a PGA Tour record for consecutive birdies to end a victory, surpassing the six by Mike Souchak in 1956 at the St. Paul Open.
"I had 10 one-putts in a row," Streelman said. "That's something I've definitely never done before."
Here's a rundown of his back-nine birdie binge:
- Par-4 12th: Fairway, approach to 8 feet.
- Par-5 13th: Fairway, second shot to greenside fairway, pitch to 5 feet.
- Par-4 14th: Fairway, approach to 21 feet.
- Par-4 15th: Fairway, approach to 12 feet.
- Par-3 16th: Tee shot to 37 feet.
- Par-4 17th: Fairway, approach to 3 feet.
- Par-4 18th: Fairway, approach to 9 feet.
"It's probably my favorite nine holes on the PGA Tour," Streelman said. "But you can't plan for something like that to happen. It just kind of falls into place."
A back-nine 28? Not a bad way to bounce back from four straight missed cuts. Having carded his first birdie of the day just before the turn, Streelman was 8 under for his last 10 holes. Similarly, he birdied six of his last 12 Saturday.
Other pros reacted quickly on Twitter:
- J.B. Holmes, @JBHolmesgolf: "@Streels54 congrats on your win today!"
- Joe Ogilvie, @ogilviej: "@Streels54 birdies last 7 for the W. Not too shabby. Congrats."
- Scott Gardiner, @gards76: "Won't meet a nicer guy than @Streels54! Congrats on the win!"
- Paul Stankowski, @PaulStankowski: "Not a bad finish there @Streels54. Not bad at all!!! #wow"
Streelman earned his second PGA Tour win, his first being last year's Tampa Bay Championship. That victory led to three top-10 finishes in his next five starts. Having started the week 51st in Ryder Cup points, he'll need a similar run if he's to be a factor on the team.
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2. LEADS DON'T LAST: K.J. Choi and Sergio Garcia found themselves moving into the lead at different times Sunday, only to be passed by Streelman's birdie binge and finish tied for second, a shot back.
Garcia took the lead thanks to a birdie at No. 11, then birdied again at No. 17. But his birdie try at No. 18 from about 30 feet ran past and he settled for par.
"At the end of the day (Streelman) played really, really well," Garcia said. "I feel like I played quite nicely and it just wasn't my time."
K.J. Choi, meanwhile, led after birdies at Nos. 12-13 but hit just three of five greens down the stretch and couldn't convert again as Streelman passed him.
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3. CARDINAL SINGS: In the collegian-turned-pro category this week, only Patrick Rodgers made the cut.
The former Stanford standout failed to break par during the weekend but birdied Nos. 13-14 for an even-par 70 Sunday to finish T-46 at 4 under on the strength of an opening-round 66. Rodgers clearly found TPC River Highlands' back nine more to his liking, twice shooting 2-under 33 and twice shooting 35.
Rodgers is slated to play the Greenbrier Classic and John Deere Classic in coming weeks.
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4. STARS HOLD SERVE: Among players in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings who made the cut, Harris English led the way by finishing T-7 at 11 under. Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson finished T-31 at 6 under.
English was undone by a 2-over 72 in the third round, when Kuchar and Johnson also failed to break par (72 and 71, respectively). For Watson, his second-round 72 proved costly.
Patrick Reed missed the cut by two shots (70-71).
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Third-round leader Ryan Moore finished T-5 at 12 under after a 71 Sunday, the only day he failed to break par. … Aaron Baddeley also held the lead at one point Sunday before being passed by Streelman, then pulling within a shot with a birdie at the 17th but bogeying the 18th to finish solo fourth. … Dustin Johnson wasn't the only T-4 finisher from the U.S. Open in this week's field; Keegan Bradley finished T-31 at 6 under, Jason Day finished T-18 at 9 under and Brooks Koepka finished T-51 at 3 under. … Defending champion Ken Duke closed with 68 finish T-46 at 4 under. … Miguel Angel Carballo became the second player to make three eagles in a round on Tour this season as part of a 63 early Saturday; he finished T-18 at 9 under.
– Associated Press contributed