Streb captures first tour win in The McGladrey Classic

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Two items on Robert Streb’s bucket list are attending an Oklahoma-Texas football game and playing at Augusta National.

He never could have guessed which would be the first one scratched off the list.

Streb closed with a 7-under 63 on Sunday and won The McGladrey Classic with the most significant shot of his young career, an 8-iron to 4 feet for birdie on the second extra hole of a three-man playoff at Sea Island that helped secure a trip to the Masters next April.

The victory sends the two-time Oklahoma Open champion, Edmond North graduate and former Kansas State All-American Streb to the Masters in April. The 27-year-old who was born in Chickasha has never played in a major.

"One is easier to get to. I just haven’t done it yet," Streb said with a smile. "Definitely thought I would have made that game by now."

Winning The McGladrey Classic for his first PGA TOUR victory was no picnic.

He opened the tournament with a duck-hook into a bush for double bogey and spent the next two days worried about making the cut.

He began the final round Sunday five shots out of the lead and made bogey from a fairway bunker on the first hole. Right when he was making a run, he three-putted for bogey on the 13th hole to fall four shots behind with only five holes to play.

The rest was a blur, and then a long wait.

Streb ran off four straight bogeys to finish at 14-under 266. He waited 90 minutes to see if it would stand, and then faced Brendon de Jonge and Will MacKenzie in a playoff.

MacKenzie was eliminated on the first playoff hole with a bogey from the bunker. On the par-3 17th, where two hours earlier Streb had rolled in a 30-foot putt to tie for the lead, he hit 8-iron that never left the flag until it plopped down right behind the hole.

"What can you do? He hit a great shot," said de Jonge, who closed with a 65. "And as I said, it’s nice for him to have a birdie. It’s a good way to win the tournament."

Time is now on Streb’s side.

With Streb and his wife Maggie expecting the couple’s first child in February, his overtime victory scored him two years of job security and a start at next year’s Masters, which will be his first major start.

It was a triumph that began with last season’s near-miss in New Orleans, when he finished two shots behind Seung-Yul Noh.

“I think he believed in himself then,” Catlin said.

That belief was fueled even more in September when Streb eagled the final hole to finish tied for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship, a rally he initially thought earned him a spot in the third FedEx Cup playoff stop.

But in one of the mathematical twists that has become so much a part of golf’s playoffs, Jason Day birdied the 18th hole in the final round at TPC Boston to bump Streb out of the top 7 and two points behind Jerry Kelly for the 70th spot on the FedEx Cup point list and a start at the BMW Championship.

“Honestly I thought I’d made it to the BMW,” Streb said. “You know, I guess it kind of keeps you hungry if you keep getting there. But you know, you’re obviously not going to achieve all your goals right from the get-go.”

Although he needed more than two seasons on Tour and 74 holes at Sea Island, he finally arrived at his championship crossroads, which – at least for Streb – seemed right on schedule.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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