Tournament Update - Saturday Evening

17 Mar

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On a gorgeous day when the low scores were early and the second round leaders struggled, an almost entirely new cast of characters took over the leaderboard of the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank.  Three golfers now share the lead at -6, Kevin Streelman, Justin Leonard and George Coetzee. None of the top seven after the third round were in the top seven after the second round. Streelman, playing in the middle of the field, was the first player to post -6, shooting the day’s best round, 65. Improbably, that number stood up, leaving Streelman with a share of the lead with Leonard and Coetzee who shot 67 and 68 respectively. Four other golfers – 2010 Tampa Bay Championship winner Jim Furyk, Ben Kohles, Greg Chalmers and Tag Ridings – are one back at -5.  Defending champion Luke Donald is two back at -4, which is one shot better than he was in 2012 when he won from three back with a closing 66.  Also at -4 are second round leader Shawn Stefani, Brian Harman, Bryce Molder and 19-year-old sensation Jordan Spieth. All told, there are 49 players within seven shots of the lead which is where Streelman was when the third round began.  Other prominent names in the hunt include Sergio Garica at -3, Matt Kuchar at -2 while K.J. Choi and Adam Scott at -1. Variable winds and drying greens made scoring especially testing for the later groups on Saturday, as all six players in the final three groups were over par for the day. First tee time on Saturday is at 8:00 with the final group of Streelman and Leonard scheduled for 1:50.  Play is anticipated to end around 6.

Round 3 Notes

Coetzee may be little known in this country, but he ranks 42nd in the Official World Golf Ranking…Leonard hit all 13 fairways on his way to a 67…Streelman finished tied for 10th in last year’s Tampa Bay Championship…Saturday’s scoring average of 71.714 was actually the lowest average of the three rounds…The winning score on the Copperhead Course has been at least 13 under par in the last three tournaments.  The highest winning score was -4 by Sean O’Hair in 2008.

Tickets for Sunday, priced at $40, are available at the gate.  Kids 15 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.  Active and retired military with a valid common access card are admitted free.

Weather permitting, and the forecast calls for good weather with highs in the mid-70s, a group of Para-Commandos is scheduled to jump onto the 18th green after the conclusion of play Sunday, prior to the trophy presentation.

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