Stroud credits relaxation for shocking run up leaderboard

After playing in 289 starts without a victory on Tour, Chris Stroud has a chance to win two in a row with a strong finish at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

Stroud qualified for this week’s event by winning his first career tournament last week at the Barracuda Championship in Nevada. It was an event that took place opposite the WGC-Bridgestone in Akron, and the 35-year-old took full advantage of the absence of the top players in the world.

Now, he enters play Sunday in the final group, just one shot back of Kevin Kisner, who will play alongside him around the difficult Quail Hollow track. While he admitted he’ll certainly be nervous, Stroud said it’s a different feeling out there now that he’s finally a winner on Tour.

“I’ve dreamed of this for years, so it’s in there,” Stroud said after the round. “I know all these guys are going to be super nervous. I’m sure I will be too. But last week just gave me an unbelievable sense of calm. I’ve never felt so relaxed on the golf course, and I think it’s a lot of the reason why I’m playing so well.”

After opening with back-to-back 68s, it would have been easy for Stroud to drop well back under major pressure in difficult conditions Saturday. That wasn’t on the agenda for the longtime pro, as he battled to an even-par 71.

“I didn’t do anything great today, I just hung in there,” Stroud said. “Made some great pars early. Wish I would have snuck away with a couple pars the last two holes, but I’ve got a chance tomorrow.”

For a guy who wasn’t even in the field until last Sunday, a chance sounds like a pretty good proposition.

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