AT& T National Notebook
Kevin Streelman Has Come a Long Way Since 'the Ultimate Game'
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Two years ago, Kevin Streelman was nearly broke, toiling in the minor leagues of golf, dreaming of the day he would play on the PGA Tour. Then, financed by a group of investors, he received an opportunity to compete in the Ultimate Game, a Steve Wynn-sponsored event with a $2 million prize. The Washington Post profiled Streelman, who finished fourth in the contest, as part of its "Why We Compete" series.
These days, life is much different for Streelman. The 30-year-old former Duke golfer is in his second year on the PGA Tour, having earned his card at the 2007 qualifying school. Yesterday at the AT&T National, he shot a 1-over-par 71 to tie for 28th place at 2 under going into today's final round at Congressional Country Club.
"Playing for that kind of money and in that arena helps in any regard, definitely," Streelman said about competing in the Ultimate Game. "It was a fun two weeks, but it's still just a tournament. Every tournament I've ever played in has definitely had an effect on me getting here."
After years of struggling to make it to this level, Streelman has thrived since joining the PGA Tour. He had four top-10 finishes last year and earned more than $1.3 million. At the 2008 Buick Invitational, he was paired with Tiger Woods in the third round. His best finish this year was at the Mayakoba Golf Classic where he closed with a 64 to tie for third.
"It took me a couple months to really believe that I belonged," Streelman said. "But once you kind of realize that they're not hitting it that different or putting it that much different and you can hang with these guys, all of a sudden you start to believe in yourself a little bit more."
Rose in the Hunt
For too long, Justin Rose has best been remembered as the 17-year-old amateur who pitched in at the 72nd hole to tie for fourth at the 1998 British Open. Eleven years later, Rose has yet to win on the PGA Tour, though he has five international victories.
Rose is unlikely to pick up his first PGA Tour victory this weekend after shooting a 1-under 69 to remain tied for 22nd place, but he remains confident that elusive win is in his not-too-distant future.
"I've got to believe that winning here is no different to winning anywhere else, in terms of getting the job done," Rose said. "You still face the same emotions. Yeah, it might be tougher to win here because the players are maybe a little bit deeper, a little bit stronger, but I believe I'm good enough to win over here." . . .
Chez Reavie has had two devoted followers this weekend, 10-year-old twins Bryan and Lauren Eng of Potomac.
Bryan and Lauren got to know Reavie when their older brother Brandon was the standard bearer for Reavie's group during Wednesday's pro-am. Since then, they have followed him through his first three rounds, even making his 7:47 a.m. tee time on Friday. Reavie rewarded their loyalty by giving them rides on his cart and letting them follow him into the scoring area after his round.
This up-close-and-personal access hasn't been the only highlight of their week. Lauren has a hat covered in golfers' autographs and Bryan is one of the lucky few to snag Woods's signature.