When he was growing up in Oklahoma, Robert Streb's neighbor was a die-hard Steelers and Penguins fan. So, with no NFL or NHL franchises in the state, Streb became a fan of the two franchises just from hanging out with his friend.
Now the Web.com Tour rookie has really learned to like Western Pennsylvania.
Streb, 25, matched his opening-round 64 with another in the final round Sunday at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg, Washington County, to win the Mylan Classic by four shots -- his first victory on the Web.com Tour.
"It's awesome," Streb said. "I finally won somewhere other than a couple [Oklahoma] state opens at my home golf course. To be able to win somewhere else felt pretty good. The competition on this tour is pretty good."
But, on this day, not good enough to challenge Streb.
He made eight birdies -- five after his only bogey at the par-4 seventh -- to finish at 18-under 266, the lowest winning score in the three-year history of the tournament. It was the second-largest margin of victory on the Web.com Tour this season.
The $108,000 first prize vaulted Streb from No. 23 to No. 4 on the Web.com Tour's money list, guaranteeing him a spot on the PGA Tour in 2013. Not bad for a player who began the season with only conditional playing status on the Web.com Tour.
"I kept telling myself, you can do it, you're good enough, and it worked out [Sunday]," Streb said.
Cliff Kresge, the third-round leader who was trying to end a six-year victory drought, shot 69 to finish in a three-way tie for second at 14-under 270. He was joined by 36-hole leader Brad Fritsch (68) and Matt Weibring (67).
"Nothing you can do about that -- when a guy plays great, you got to hand it to him," Kresge said about Streb, who had only one bogey in the final 36 holes and just three for the tournament. "I felt like if I made couple more putts I would have put pressure on him, but he was just too good."
Wearing the purple-and-white colors of his alma mater, Kansas State, Streb hit 13 of 14 fairways (including all seven on the back nine), 13 of 18 greens and needed only 24 putts to post the third-lowest final-round score by a tour winner this year.
He never looked back once he took the lead at the par-5 eighth with a 25-foot birdie putt that "crashed the back of the hole," Streb said.
Kresge, 43, was trying to win for the fourth time in his career on the Web.com Tour, but he did himself in the way most players despise -- making bogey on two of the reachable par 5s.
It happened at No. 8, when he hit his second shot at the 540-yard hole into the pond that guards the left side of the approach.
And it happened again at the 553-yard 13th when he skipped a sand wedge over the green on his third shot and failed to get up and down for par. That dropped him two shots from the lead.
"I made a couple birdies on 10 and 11 to make it interesting," Kresge said. "But Rob played too good. He played awesome."
When Streb stuffed a 9-iron to 3 feet for birdie at the par-3 14th, the ending was all but guaranteed.
Streb added one more birdie from 5 feet at the 413-yard 16th to complete his final-round masterpiece.
"I didn't think I needed ," said Streb, who began the final round at 11 under, one shot behind Kresge. "I thought if I got to 15 or 16 under I had a pretty good chance. The 64 didn't hurt anything."
It has been a meteoric rookie season for Streb, who gained conditional status on the Web.com Tour when he finished 100th at qualifying school in the fall. But, by finishing in the top 25 in six of the first eight events, Streb kept gaining entry into the following week's event.
And when he finished tied for third at the BMW Charity Pro-Am and tied for fourth at the South Georgia Classic, Streb jumped high enough on the money list to earn exempt status after a reshuffle.
Now, after making 15 of 18 cuts and winning at Southpointe, he is guaranteed his PGA Tour card.
"This year has panned out really well," Streb said. "I didn't know where I was going to get in [early in the season], but a couple good finishes and your goals change. Then it was, I might as well try to get my [PGA] tour card now that I'm here. I kind of reached my goal for now."
NOTES -- Robert Coury, Mylan executive chairman, announced the tournament will return in 2013. The tournament will be played at an earlier date in August because of the new fall qualification playoff.golf
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @gerrydulac. First Published September 3, 2012 4:00 AM