ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Robert Streb may want to consider taking up permanent residence at Sea Island Resort.
The 33-year-old Oklahoma native who calls Kansas home these days, has won both of his PGA Tour titles at the Resort’s Seaside Course. He did so in dramatic fashion on Sunday, nearly holing a pitching wedge from 159 yards on the second playoff hole and tapping in for birdie to defeat Kevin Kisner and win the RSM Classic for the second time.
“Obviously came out perfect, landed soft,” Streb said of his winning shot, which kissed the left side of the cup and stopped a foot from the hole. “It was going to need a little fortune to get close and I got it.”
It was a battle of past champions at the RSM Classic as Streb, whose previous victory came at this event in 2014, was caught on the back nine by Kisner, the 2015 champion, who erased a five-stroke deficit by making five birdies in his first 10 holes.
Streb, who led by three strokes entering the final round, made two birdies on the front nine and extended his streak to 55 holes without a bogey until he dropped a shot at No. 13. Kisner pulled in front with a birdie at the par-5 15th and was the first player to get to 19 under, but he failed to deliver the knockout punch, making par at his final three holes to shoot 7-under 63 and missing a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole. Kisner’s playoff record fell to 0-5.
“I just want to keep my playoff record intact,” Kisner cracked. “Hats off to Robert. He hit a heck of a shot on 18 and he played great as well to come back, birdie 17 and he’s a deserving champion.”
Streb, who made only two bogeys for the tournament, appeared to be leaking oil when he took three putts and made par at 15, but he stuck a 6-iron from 203 yard to 11 feet at the par-3 17th and poured in the tying putt.
“For whatever reason I felt I was reading the greens well and was making a lot of putts,” he said. “Sometimes that just happens, I guess, and I capitalized on it.”
While Streb missed a birdie putt from just inside 15 feet at the 72nd hole for the win, he sank a 10-foot par putt on the first extra hole to extend the playoff.
Streb hasn’t finished in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings in each of the past three seasons, and his recent form didn’t suggest he’d earn his first title in six years. He had shot in the 60s only three times in his last 12 rounds entering this week, but posted four straight rounds in the 60s, including a 63 on Friday and closed with a 2-under 68 to finish with a 72-hole aggregate of 19-under 263.
“I felt like things were starting to get a little better and I wasn’t quite getting the results, but wasn’t expecting this, either,” he admitted.
Cameron Tringale tied for the low round of the day, an 8-under 62, to finish alone in third place. Camilo Villegas, who played with a heavy heart after his 22-month-old daughter died of cancer in July, finished tied for sixth.
Six years ago, Streb earned his maiden Tour title here, riding an outrageous putting performance to rally from five strokes back and win a sudden-death playoff. At the time, his wife, Maggie, was pregnant with their first child. Now the couple has two kids and and two trophies to admire on the family mantle.
“It’s great to win one, but winning more than once is, I don’t know, I guess validates what ability you have and it was just kind of unexpected and super nice to get,” Streb said.
He’ll be able to relive his clutch approach at the second playoff for years to come.
“We were planning on the ball kind of knuckling out of there and jumping,” he explained. “You’re kind of at the mercy of whatever you get and it came out really well. I was just hoping it would kind of land soft and obviously it just, it worked out as good as you could hope for.”
That it did. Approximately 200 spectators ringed the green and hooted and hollered in appreciation.
“Once I heard the crowd go, I was pretty much toast,” Kisner said.
“I couldn’t quite tell how close it was until I was all the way up by the hole,” Streb said, “but you know, it’s really nice to sit there and have a little one-foot putt instead of trying to make a six-, seven-, eight-footer.”
And given his success at this picturesque corner of southern Georgia, he was asked if he was thinking of joining the many Tour pros who call it home.
“Maybe I should, or at least come down here for the winter or something,” he said. “It’s been very good to me.”
The PGA Tour is off this week for Thanksgiving, then it’s the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Dec. 3-6 in Mexico. Following the Mayakoba are a pair of unofficial events: the QBE Shootout in Naples, Florida, Dec. 11-13, and the PNC Father-Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Dec. 19-20.