Robert Streb has had a difficult season on the PGA Tour, but he had a day he will never forget on Friday at the PGA Championship.
Streb, who played in college at Kansas State and lives in Shawnee, shot 7-under-par 63 in the second round at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. A birdie on his final hole left Streb at 9-under 131 for two rounds and tied for the lead with Jimmy Walker, who shot 66.
Streb became the 28th player to shoot 63 in a major championship and the third this month. Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson did it in the British Open.
“It was a great round,” Streb told reporters after his round. “I am happy to be part of that 63 club.”
Streb enjoyed success during the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, gaining his first Tour victory and qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship. This year has been different, however, as Streb has made the cut just nine times in 23 tournaments.
“I kind of thought I would keep it going,” Streb said, “but it has been tough. I learned the hard way that you have to start over again. The ball striking and the putting have been difficult. I have been hanging on by a thread.
“It’s coming together this week, which is nice.”
Streb recently tweaked his swing, which had felt out of whack recently
“It fells like my swing again,” Streb said. “I may not hit it perfect, but it feels normal again. I can take a swing at it and catch it solid.”
Streb shot 68 in the first round Thursday and got his second round going with birdies on three of his first six holes after starting on No. 10. He had his lone bogey on No. 16 before making a birdie on 18 to finish that nine in 33.
Streb then made four birdies on the front nine, which he finished in 30. He didn’t have a large crowd watching since a group that featured three stars of the game — Mickelson, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy — were finishing at the same time on No. 18.
“It was noisy for the 15 people out there,” Streb said. “They knew what was going on.”
So did Streb as he watched his 20-foot birdie putt on No. 9 near the hole.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I was waiting on it to break, waiting on it to break, and it finally turned at the end.”
Streb made the cut in a major championship for the first time this year. His best finish in a major was a tie for 10th place in last year’s PGA Championship, which was won by Day.
Day was almost as hot as Streb on Friday, making birdies on seven of his last 11 holes while shooting 64 in the second round. Day and Emiliano Grillo, who had a 67, are 2 shots back.
Streb and Walker will be in the final group Saturday, behind Day and Grillo.
“I will just try to stick to what I am doing,” Streb said. “Hopefully it will be good enough.”
After Friday’s second round at Baltusrol Golf Club: