CROMWELL, Conn. — As much as Kevin Streelman enjoys the back nine at TPC River Highlands,, even he didn’t think he what he accomplished Sunday was possible.
Streelman birdied the last seven holes to win the Travelers Championship by a stroke, shooting his second straight 6-under 64 to finish at 15-under 265.
“It’s probably my favourite 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.”
He broke the tour record for consecutive closing birdies by a winner of six set by Mike Souchak in the 1956 St. Paul Open. He matched the tournament record with a 7-under 28 on the final nine.
“I had 10 one-putts in a row,” Streelman said. “That’s something I’ve definitely never done before.”
Also the Tampa Bay Championship winner last season, the 35-year-old Streelman missed the cuts in his previous four starts on tour.
“I didn’t have too many expectations coming here,” said Streelman, who earned $1.12 million for the victory.
Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi tied for second. They each shot 67.
Aaron Baddeley was fourth at 13 under after a 69.
Streelman was 1 over for the day before starting the birdie run on No. 12. The streak reached five with a 37-foot putt at No. 16, and he capped it by hitting a wedge to 9 feet and rolling in another putt at No. 18.
“I knew when that putt fell on 16 that something kind of special was happening,” Streelman said.
Streelman said he hasn’t focus on golf exclusively lately, trying to spend more time with wife Courtney and 6-month-old daughter Sophie.
“I was thinking about her (Sophie) on those last couple of putts. I was thinking, ’You know what? If these go in, great. If not, great. She’s going to love me either way and we have a nice family vacation coming up either way,”’ Streelman said.
Streelman said a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 9 gave him a boost of confidence that he could finish with a flourish.
Garcia has six top-10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour starts this season, and won the European Tour’s Qatar Masters in January.
“At the end of the day he played really, really well,” Garcia said about Streelman.
“I feel like I played quite nicely and it just wasn’t my time.”
For the sixth straight year at the Travelers the player who held the 54-hole lead was unable to win. Ryan Moore was one stroke ahead after three rounds, but closed with a 71 to tie for fifth at 12 under.
Second-round leader Scott Langley birdied his first three holes and briefly pulled into the lead at 14 under. He, too, finished with a 71 to tie for 11th at 10 under.
Miguel Angel Carballo became the second player to make three eagles in a round on the PGA Tour this season as part of a 63 early Saturday. He finished at 9 under.
Patrick Rodgers, the former Stanford star making his pro debut, shot a 70 to tie for 46th at 4 under.
Ken Duke, the winner last year, had a 68 to also finish at 4 under.