PGA Championship 2016

Streb's 63 erases his memories of failure

Robert Streb showing his elation on the 18th hole on Friday, after the unheralded American's seven-under 63 put him in the record books and gave him a share of the PGA Championship lead with compatriot Jimmy Walker at nine-under 131 after 36 holes.
Robert Streb showing his elation on the 18th hole on Friday, after the unheralded American's seven-under 63 put him in the record books and gave him a share of the PGA Championship lead with compatriot Jimmy Walker at nine-under 131 after 36 holes.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

American overshadows charging Day despite missing the cut in all other Majors this year

SPRINGFIELD (Ne w Jersey) • Unheralded Robert Streb matched the record low round in Major golf history on Friday with an astonishing seven-under 63 to seize a share of the lead after the second round of the PGA Championship.

Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day's amazing run of seven birdies in eight holes to grab a share of third was overshadowed by the 29-year-old American on a rain-soaked Baltusrol layout soggy enough to surrender low scores in a wild afternoon of shot-making.

Back-nine starter Streb made a lone bogey and eight birdies, the last of them on a curling 21-foot putt at the par-three ninth to make history and match compatriot Jimmy Walker for the 36-hole lead at nine-under 131.

"I was pretty excited about it," Streb said. "I was waiting on it to break, waiting on it to break and it finally turned there at the end.

"It was a great round. Happy to be part of that 63 club."

Streb's 63 was the 30th shot at a Major but he was the 28th player to achieve the feat, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Australian Greg Norman having done it twice.

PUTTING IT IN PERSPECTIVE

Putting let me down at (the US Open at) Oakmont and then putting let me down here again. It's really disheartening. I need to go back to the drawing board.

RORY MCILROY, on missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

British Open champion Henrik Stenson and runner-up Phil Mickelson each did it two weeks ago at Royal Troon.

Baltusrol has surrendered the most 63s of any Major course with four, including two of only four in US Open history, the 63s of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf in the first round in 1980, and another by Thomas Bjorn at the 2005 PGA Championship.

Streb, whose lone US PGA victory came in the 2014 McGladrey Classic, has gone 27 US PGA events without a top-10 showing since placing 10th at the 2015 PGA Championship, although he was fourth at this year's European Tour Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

Streb missed the cut in all three prior Majors this year but played the round of his life to put himself in contention for a Major title.

"The ball-striking and putting has been a little difficult this year," he said. "Just been trying to hang on by a thread. Obviously it's coming together this week, which is nice."

Australia's Day fired a 65 to stand two strokes adrift on 133 along with Argentinian rookie Emiliano Grillo, who shot 67.

Meanwhile, a dispirited but candid Rory McIlroy admitted to a "pathetic" putting performance after missing the cut to ensure 2016 will conclude without a Major win for the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy's three-over total meant he fell a shot outside the cut line at Baltusrol. A bogey at the final hole - after McIlroy had holed for a birdie from 30 feet on the 17th - put paid to his weekend hopes but the 27-year-old was in no doubt as to where his problems lie.

McIlroy missed chance upon chance for birdies on both Thursday and Friday, over which he had 65 putts in all.

"Tee to green was good but it was just pathetic when I got on to the green," McIlroy said after signing for his 69, a five-shot improvement on the first round.

"Putting let me down at (the US Open at) Oakmont and then putting let me down here again.

"It's really disheartening. I need to go back to the drawing board and see where we go from here. I just need to do a lot of work."

McIlroy's next competitive appearance will be at the Barclays Championship in late August, to start the FedEx Cup series.

Asked to sum up his year, McIlroy answered: "Disappointing."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Day 4, Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, tomorrow, 2am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Streb's 63 erases his memories of failure'. Print Edition | Subscribe