(Reuters) - Robert Streb held his nerve to win his first PGA Tour title in a playoff with fellow American Will MacKenzie and Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge for the $5.6 million McGladrey Classic at Sea Island in Georgia on Sunday.
As the afternoon shadows lengthened to end a day of unbroken sunshine on the Seaside Course, Streb sealed victory by sinking a four-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole, the par-three 17th, where de Jonge narrowly missed his attempt from 18 feet.
After retrieving his ball from the cup, the 27-year-old Streb removed his cap to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd before being congratulated by the burly de Jonge, who had also been bidding for his maiden victory on the PGA Tour.
MacKenzie, seeking to end a six-year title drought on the U.S. circuit, was eliminated from the playoff at the first extra hole, the par-four 18th, where he bogeyed after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
The trio had finished the 72 regulation holes on 14-under-par 266, de Jonge closing with a five-under 65, MacKenzie carding a 68 and early starter Streb firing a best-of-the-day 63.
“The wait was a little nerve-wracking because they (the final groups in regulation) had the par-five (15th to come),” Streb, who finished his round an hour-and-a-half before MacKenzie, told Golf Channel.
“And then obviously those last two short putts I was pretty shaky,” he added, referring to his four-footer for par on the first extra hole and his birdie putt for victory.
Asked if he could put his emotions into words, Streb replied: “Not yet but I am very thrilled.”
De Jonge made the first significant move in a hotly contested final round, a flurry of three birdies in the opening three holes lifting him into a tie for the lead with overnight pacesetters Andrew Svoboda and MacKenzie.
While Svoboda slipped back with bogeys on 11, 12 and 14, Streb, who began the final round five strokes off the pace, drained a 33-footer at the 17th for his fourth consecutive birdie to move into a share of the lead.
Streb had to settle for a par at the last after his birdie attempt from 21 feet pulled up a few inches short of the cup.
“It was a lot of fun,” Streb said after signing his card. “I made quite a few putts and stuffed a couple of wedges (close). Before you know it, you’ve got a whole pile of birdies.”
MacKenzie faltered with a three-putt bogey at the 16th but rebounded with a birdie at the 17th, where he very nearly holed his tee shot.
He salvaged a par at the 18th after his tee shot ended up in the right rough and failed to reach the green in two, two-putting from around 25 yards to join the playoff.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry