Tournament Update - Friday Evening

16 Mar

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SHAWN STEFANI HOLDS LEAD OVER TIGHTLY-BUNCHED FIELD

Shawn Stefani, the first round leader, followed his opening round 65 with a 1-under-par 70 to hold a one-shot lead at the midway point of the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. But there is a gathering storm behind him with 21 competitors within five shots of the lead.

A pair of established professionals, Adam Scott and K.J. Choi, are Stefani’s closest pursuers just one shot back at 6-under 136. Scott, the 7th-ranked player in Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), shot 66, while Choi, a two-time winner on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, fired a 67. Making his fifth appearance in the Tampa Bay Championship, Scott feels the difficulty of the Innisbrook Copperhead course provides a great challenge that could help him in the Masters. “I am playing here with the same kind of mindset I’d use in a Major. I’m playing conservatively because it’s too easy to make bogeys. So, absolutely it’s the same style you would use at Augusta or other majors.”

Four other golfers are just two shots back, including Jason Dufner, 18th in the OWGR and recorded a top-10 finish in the 2012 tournament. Two others at -5 are great friends, Harris English and Brian Harman who were teammates at the University of Georgia. Peter Tomasulo one of just three players with two rounds in the 60’s, is also -5. Other top finishers of note included Sergio Garcia at -4 while Matt Kuchar, Justin Leonard and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth all finished at -2.

Former Tampa Bay Championship winners, Jim Furyk and Sean O’Hair are at -1 and two more, defending champion Luke Donald and Vijay Singh are at even par. U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson is also at even par 142. The cut to 77 players was at 2-over-par 144, three strokes higher than in each of the last two years.

First tee time on Saturday is at 8:05 with the final group of Stefani and Scott scheduled for 1:55. Three previous 36-hole leaders of this event have gone on to win–K.J. Choi in 2002 and 2006 and Retief Goosen in 2003.

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