To say that Kevin Streelman took an indirect route to his first career PGA Tour victory would be an understatement. After stints as a caddie and a club pro, he had played in 152 events without recording a victory since he turned pro in 2001. That is, until he took home the top spot at the Tampa Bay Championship.
His first victory on tour definitely wasn’t an easy one. He was locked in a battle with Justin Leonard during the final round and Book Weekley was in the clubhouse at eight under par. Two birdies on the back nine propelled Streelman to his first win on tour. Leonard faltered badly in the final round, shooting two over par on the back nine to put himself out of contention late in the day.
Streelman played his last 37 holes without a bogey. That is an impressive feat, especially considering the fact that he had to face the daunting “Snake Pit” each day. There’s also the pressure of being in the lead of an event with an opportunity to notch your first career win. That could certainly make even the simplest task exponentially more difficult.
When asked how he was able to hold on for the win, Streelman said, “I just stayed really patient, and I had a peace about me today.” I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but a spot in The Masters was also on the line.
The biggest part of this win is that it earned him a special temporary membership on tour, which means that Streelman is able to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the year. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him rack up his second career win before too long.