By Brent Maycockbrent.firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans just three shots off the lead, Robert Streb had a simple plan for Sunday.
“Just try to chase down whoever is in front of me and see how it goes,” Streb said after the third round.
Darned if it almost didn’t go well enough for the former Edmond North and Kansas State standout to record his first PGA Tour victory.
Eight holes into the final round, Streb held a share of the lead at 18 under. But a costly double bogey on No. 9 set him back and he never again could quite catch up to Seung-Yul Noh, who instead collected his first PGA title, finishing with a two-shot victory at 19-under 269.
Streb’s consolation prize was pretty nice, however. After carding a final-round 2-under 70, Streb finished tied for second with Andrew Svoboda at 17-under 271 — his best showing in his brief PGA career.
“It was a lot of fun,” Streb said. “It was nice to be in the mix on Sunday coming down the stretch. A couple of tee balls got away from me, but I made some long putts and I played pretty well overall I thought.”
The finish earned Streb a hefty payday of $598,400 — nearly matching his career earnings of $665,077 — and jumped him from No. 153 in the FedEx Cup Points standings to 73rd.
A tie for 11th at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open had been Streb’s previous best finish on the PGA Tour. But after positioning himself well inside the top 10 with three rounds in the 60s at TPC Louisiana this week, Streb set his sights on nabbing a win that would provide him a two-year tour exemption and berths in two majors — the 2014 PGA Championship and 2015 Masters.
A hot putter had been a big key all week, and Streb stayed on fire early in Sunday’s round. On the par-5 No. 2, Streb found the front of the green with his second shot and then proceeded to drain an amazing 71-foot putt for eagle to jump start his final round.
“This week was the best I’ve putted all year,” Streb said. “I missed a few coming out of the gate yesterday but still felt like I putted it pretty good all week and the ones I didn’t make were still pretty good putts. That was nice.”
The momentum was short-lived, however, as Streb bogeyed the next hole and gave another shot back on No. 6 He righted the ship with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8, the latter moving him into a tie atop the leaderboard with Noh.
But just as quickly as Streb got there, he fell back. His tee shot on the par-3 No. 9 splashed into the pond to the left of the green and led to a double bogey. Streb followed with another bogey on No. 10.
“I was trying to aim a little right of the green and let the wind take it,” Streb said of his tee shot on No. 9. “I kind of pull-hooked it and once it started going left, I knew it was going to be wet.”
Read the full story at the Topeka Capital Journal here