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Golf: Streelman closes with seven-birdie run to win

Kevin Streelman made the longest closing birdie streak to win a title in US PGA Tour history with birdies on the last seven holes to capture the Travelers Championship.

CROMWELL, United States: Kevin Streelman made the longest closing birdie streak to win a title in US PGA Tour history on Sunday with birdies on the last seven holes to capture the Travelers Championship.

The 35-year-old American fired his second consecutive six-under par 64 to finish 72 holes on 15-under 265 for a one-stroke victory.

"It's just unbelievable to have this happen," Streelman said.

South Korea's K J Choi and Spain's Sergio Garcia shared second on 266 with Australian Aaron Baddeley fourth on 267. All three had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at 18 but none of them could make it happen.

Streelman, whose only other PGA title came at last year's Tampa Bay Championship, took $1.116 million for the historic triumph.

"It was just one of those days when I couldn't miss," Streelman said.

The longest prior birdie run to win a PGA event, six in a row, was by Mike Souchak at the 1956 St. Paul Open.

Streelman's sizzling finish had its roots in a tough six-foot par putt at the 10th hole, "an awesome putt" after which Streelman turned to caddie A J Montecinos and said, 'Let's go shoot 29 on the back.'"

Streelman actually fired a 28 over the final nine holes, one-putting every green on the back side, the last of them a nine-foot birdie at 18 that proved to be the margin of victory.

With wife Courtney and baby daughter Sophie on hand at the 18th green to greet him, Streelman had basically seen the week as a bit of a vacation after missing the cut in his past four starts.

"I had a great perspective this week. I had a great week with my daughter," he said. "Golf had become too important. I let some other things into my heart and that helped."

Streelman, who began the day four strokes back, was six off the pace after a bogey at the seventh hole.

Then came a 10-foot birdie at the ninth and a pair of pars to begin the back side, setting the stage for the historic run.

Streelman sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the 12th, a five-footer at the par-5 13th and dropped a 21-foot birdie putt at 14 to send a signal he was in the title hunt.

He kept the streak alive with a 12-foot birdie at the 15th and followed at the par-3 16th by curving in a 37-foot birdie putt.

Streelman dropped his approach at the 17th just three feet from the cup to set up a birdie and then finished off the run at 18 as rivals behind him faltered at the finish.

Choi birdied the 12th and 13th holes but could not add another down the stretch, his last effort from 35 feet rolling three feet past the hole.

Garcia birdied the 17th hole from 11 feet to keep his hopes alive but missed a 30-foot birdie putt at 18.

Baddeley also birdied 17 to give himself a chance but buried his tee shot at 18 in deep grass on a hillside and missed a 40-yard chip shot attempt for birdie to seal Streelman's victory.

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