Sports Briefs: 11-23-20

  • Kevin Kisner reacts to a missed birdie putt on the first green during the final round of the RSM Classic golf tournament, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

  • Robert Streb holds the trophy after winning a second hole playoff against Kevin Kisner at the RSM Classic golf tournament, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Streb nearly holes out in a playoff to win at Sea Island

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Robert Streb now has two PGA Tour victories, both at Sea Island, both times winning in a playoff.

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Those are the only similarities.

Six years after he had to rally from a five-shot deficit, Streb failed to protect a three-shot lead Sunday and felt the RSM Classic slipping away until piecing together three big shots to beat Kevin Kisner, none bigger than his final full swing.

His ball nestled in Bermuda rough on the second playoff hole on No. 18 at the Seaside course, Streb had to rely on a good guess and a soft bounce. He got both. His pitching wedge from a flier lie 158 yards away was perfect in flight, landed softly and came within an inch of going in.

That left him a tap-in birdie to cap off a wild final hour that changes everything for Streb — a check worth nearly as much as he made the last two years, a return to the Masters and a PGA Tour exemption through August 2023.

“We were planning on the ball kind of knuckling out of there and jumping,” Streb said. “You’re kind of at the mercy of whatever you get and it came out really well. I was just hoping it would land soft, and obviously it just worked out as good as you could hope for.”

Medvedev tops Thiem for the ATP Finals title

LONDON — Daniil Medvedev did not travel an easy path to the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals: He beat No. 3 Dominic Thiem for the championship after earlier getting past No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

By switching tactics and coming back for a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over U.S. Open champion Thiem in Sunday’s final, No. 4 Medvedev became the first player to defeat each of the men ranked 1-3 in the season-ending championship — and only the fourth to do so at any tour event since 1990.

“Means a lot,” said Medvedev, a 24-year-old Russian. “Shows what I’m capable of when I’m playing good, when I’m feeling good mentally, physically. So I know what I’m capable of. Just need to produce it more and more.”

The win against Thiem on an indoor hard court in an arena without spectators, who were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic, followed those against Djokovic in the round-robin portion of the tournament and Nadal in Saturday’s semifinals

Medvedev went 5-0 in all, quite a turnaround from a year ago, when he was 0-3 at the ATP Finals. The tournament now ends its 12-edition stay in London and heads to Turin, Italy, next year.

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Medvedev closed 2020 by going 10-0 in November, including seven wins against members of the Top 10. He had zero victories over Top 10 opponents over the preceding 12 months.

By wire sources

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