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 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.
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 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.
CHAMPIONS: In Glenview, Illinois, Tom Lehman made a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Encompass Championship.
Lehman, 55, closed with a 2-under 70 at North Shore and had a 15-under 201 total for his eighth senior title and first since 2012. He rebounded from bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 – his only dropped strokes of the week – with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, parred the par-3 17th and won on the par-4 18th.
Michael Allen and Kirk Triplett tied for second, a stroke back. Allen shot 67, and Triplett had a 68.
Lehman, the 1996 British Open winner, ended a 27-event victory drought.
EUROPEAN: In Cork, Ireland, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Irish Open, shooting a 1-under 70 to beat Italy’s Edoardo Molinari by a stroke.
Ilonen finished at 13-under 271 at Fota Island. He has four victories in 300 career European Tour starts.
Molinari closed with a 67. England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, the U.S. Amateur champion, had a 68 to tie for 29th at 5 under in his pro debut.