Jun
22
2014
Streelman wins the Travelers with back nine birdie barrage
By Bernie D'Amato under PGA Tour
Power game. ©USGA/Darren Carroll.

Just when the Travelers Championship appeared to be a three-man race between Sergio Garcia, K.J. Choi, and Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Streelman birdied the final seven holes to win his second PGA Tour tournament. The seven birdie streak broke Mike Souchak’s streak of six birdies to win the 1956 St. Paul Open.

After the incredible finish, Streelman said, “That was unbelievable. I think I one‑putted 10 greens in a row there, and it just was a lot of fun. I knew someone was going to have to go win that golf tournament.”

He added, “This layout, it’s so much fun to come down the stretch and have 15, and 17 if you hit a good drive, you can make birdie there. But to just put it all together is what I work for, practiced hard for, and it’s been a really fun week.”

Streelman began the final round four strokes back of the overnight leader, Ryan Moore. Bogeys on two and seven meant Streelman was struggling to crack the top-10, much less thinking about winning the tournament. A birdie on nine got his round back on track, but at eight-under total, he still needed to play solid golf to have a respectable finish.

On the back nine, everything went in for the graduate of Duke University. “I made an awesome putt on 10, just looked at AJ and [said] let’s go shoot 29 on the back. Got one better. Fortunately, I one‑putted 10 greens in a row. Just one of those days where I felt like I couldn’t miss.”

Sergio and K.J. both shot final round 67s, and were unable to convert long birdie attempts on 18 to tie Streelman at 15-under. After the round, Sergio said, “I thought it was a great week. There’s no doubt that obviously Kevin played amazing on the back nine today, and you know, when somebody does something like that, they deserve to win.  There’s no doubt about it.”

Aaron Baddeley held the lead on the front nine, and had a chance at tying Streelman with a birdie at the last, but he bogeyed to fall to fourth place. Badds said he was pleased with his week, and believes he is close to winning his first event since 2011.

Baddeley was also amazed by Streelman’s performance. “To make seven birdies in a row, especially on the last round on the back nine is very, very impressive, you know.  Streel’s a good friend of mine, so I’m super happy for him.”

–Bernie D’Amato