Golf: Sizzling Streb seizes early lead at relocated CJ Cup

Robert Streb plays his shot from the 17th tee during the first round of the CJ Cup, on Oct 14, 2021.
Robert Streb plays his shot from the 17th tee during the first round of the CJ Cup, on Oct 14, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Robert Streb rode a blistering start to an 11-under par 61 and the early first-round lead on Thursday (Oct 14) in the CJ Cup at the Summit Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The American, a two-time winner on the United States PGA Tour, matched the best start to a US tour event when he opened with five birdies and an eagle to reach seven-under through six holes.

A bogey at the 11th was just a hiccup as Streb rebounded with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 14th before adding two more birdies at 16 and 18.

"It was going really well," Streb said of his opening burst, launched with a seven-foot birdie at the first followed by a six-foot birdie at the second.

He drained a 12-foot eagle putt at the third, the rolled in a 17-footer at the fourth and a three-foot birdie at the fifth, capping the run with a two-putt birdie at the par-five sixth.

"Obviously (I) hit a few close and the putts were going in," Streb said. "I've never had a start like that, so it was kind of fun.

"Slowed down a little I guess in the middle, but it was a really, really good round." With afternoon starters still on the course, Streb's nearest rival in the clubhouse was Hudson Swafford, who had eight birdies in a seven-under par 65.

Three more players were in the clubhouse on six-under, with Keith Mitchell leading the chasers on the course at six-under through 11 holes.

Streb, who hit 13 of 14 fairways in regulation, said he tried to "stay in the moment" as the round unfolded.

But he knew something special was going on.

"I don't know, you just feel like you can start aiming at stuff," he said.

"Things seemed to be going my way. Even that bogey, I almost made the putt, so it just went really well." Streb's start through six holes matched the record set by Brandt Snedeker in the opening round at Torrey Pines in 2007.

The 34-year-old, ranked 141st in the world, said he would just try to produce more of the same over the remaining three rounds of the tournament being held in Las Vegas after being relocated from its usual home on Jeju Island in South Korea because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Obviously guys are going to shoot some low ones here this week, so (I'll) just try a plug along and see where I'm at at the end of the week," he said.