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Takeaways

Robert Streb in position for his first win in six years after second straight bogey-free round

Sam Greenwood
Robert Streb has not made a bogey in 43 holes leading into Sunday in the RSM Classic.

By Christopher Powers
When Robert Streb won his first PGA Tour event at the RSM Classic (then the McGladery Classic) in 2014, he checked off an important bucket-list box: earning an invitation to the Masters. The only other thing the Chickasha, Okla., native said he needed to check off? Attend an Oklahoma-Texas game, otherwise known as the Red River Rivalry.

Streb, who posted a second consecutive bogey-free round on Saturday on Sea Island, leads Zach Johnson by three shots, having posted a three-under 67 to reach 17 under. He’s not dropped a shot in 43 holes and has put himself in position to claim his second tour win—at the venue where he first won. Should he close it out, he’ll be back at Augusta National in April for the first time since 2016. He still hasn’t been to an OU-UT game, though.

“Sadly, I have not, no,” said Streb, who went to Kansas State but was born in Oklahoma and currently resides there. “I think I’ve been working a few times, and I think I had something going on last time where I think I could have made it. Might have been this year actually, but with all this stuff going on, wasn’t going to go, it wouldn’t have been that much fun.”

Winning on Sunday, even if no fans are there to see it, would be very fun for Streb. The 33-year-old has had just two top 10s since November of 2018, both coming in the Barracuda Championship. On Saturday evening, he plans to do the same thing he did here six years ago—get ice cream.

Flavour?

“I don’t know, I think I’ve just been doing like a chocolate vanilla and caramel or something,” Streb said. “They’ve only got a few flavours in there, but it’s good.”

Here are three other takeaways from Day 3 of the RSM Classic.

Turn on the fan for Zach Johnson

Sam Greenwood
Zach Johnson has played well in the wind in the past.

As if Zach Johnson didn’t have enough of a home-course advantage this week (Johnson lives on St. Simons Island), it’s been extremely windy, and those are conditions he thrives in. If you recall, he won his Masters in very difficult conditions, and the week he won the Open Championship at St Andrews was about as windy as it gets.

“I do not dislike wind,” Johnson said Saturday after shooting a five-under 65.

Gale force winds are not in the forecast for Sunday, but it will still be breezy. No one should be surprised if ZJ ends up winning this thing.

Can Kevin Kisner finally capitalise on his good form?

Sam Greenwood
Kevin Kisner doesn’t live on St. Simons Island, but is a member of Sea Island Golf Club.

Kevin Kisner, who, in the upset of the century, is not a member of the Sea Island mafia, has quietly been playing some excellent golf over the last few months. But he hasn’t been able to capitalise on his good form with a victory. Considering the fact he’s five back after a four-under 66, he probably won’t pull one out this week either.

“You can’t get too aggressive over here because you’ve got to give yourself a lot of chances on the greens,” said Kisner. “The greens are so pure, you can knock the putts in. Just don’t need him to get too far away and see if I can’t put some heat on him early tomorrow.”

Surprisingly, Kisner is in the mix despite the fact he’s losing strokes gained on approach. Of course, it helps that he’s putting well and he knows the place well. He doesn’t live on the island, but he is a member, and he is a former winner.

“Knowing where to miss it on the greens, using the wind to your advantage coming in so that you’re either chipping or putting back into the wind,” Kisner explained. “Hardest part with this northeast wind is all the crosswind; it’s so hard to judge how much the wind’s going to take it on the approach shots. You’ve got to miss it in the right areas and then you’ve got to know when to be aggressive.”

Kiz will have to be aggressive from the start if he wants to claim his fourth tour win. That said, just “adding to your bank account” might not be a bad strategy either.

Camilo Villegas needs a miracle

Sam Greenwood
Camilo Villegas will need others to stumble in front of him to win RSM Classic.

Just by being in (semi) contention, it’s been Camilo Villegas’ best week on the PGA Tour probably since the 2016 RSM Classic, when he finished runner-up in a five-man playoff. The 38-year-old is five back, which means he’ll need to shoot something in the five or six under range on Sunday and get some help from the guys ahead of him. And by help we mean an over-par score. Wishing bad golf on anyone, especially Robert Streb, who is looking to end a win drought, is a no-no. We aren’t going to do that. But we’d be lying if we said we weren’t rooting for a Camilo miracle on Sunday. If anybody deserves one, it’s him.

 

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