LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Life is good for Kevin Streelman, who was married less than three weeks ago and has extended his honeymoon to encompass a place that from his vantage point is just on this side of paradise. "I do enjoy this golf course," Streelman said of the South Course at Torrey Pines, where he opened with a three-under-par 68 Thursday afternoon that gave him a share of the first-round lead in the U.S. Open.
It was here in January that Streelman, a Duke graduate and PGA Tour rookie, was the last alternate admitted to the field at the Buick Invitational, then played his way into contention and a Saturday pairing with Tiger Woods. He eventually tied for 29th, which paid him $33,000 and dividends that he hopes to collect here.
"I was the last alternate. I got in Thursday morning and all of a sudden I was paired with Tiger Woods," he said of the Buick. "To this day it was one of the coolest days of my life. The main thing I took out of it was the necessity of rest. It's wearing on you, playing with Tiger, under scrutiny. It drains you."
Though the South Course is playing substantially different than it did in January, Streelman is comfortable with it, despite the thick kikuyu rough and fast greens that cost him a stroke on his 17th hole and kept him from leading outright.
"It's the lines off the tee," he said. "They suit my eyes well. And I drove it well today and my iron play was pretty solid."