By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Kevin Streelman captured his first PGA TOUR victory at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, shrugging off Boo Weekley’s early bolt with a steady 4-under-par 67 for a two-stroke triumph.
Streelman went bogey-free for the second consecutive day at Innisbrook Resort, finally pulling clear of Weekley’s target with a birdie at the Copperhead course’s par-3 13th hole. Another birdie at No. 17 provided the final margin.
“That was really cool,” said Streelman, a sixth-year PGA TOUR veteran who won in his 153d start. “I just stayed really patient and had a peace about me today. … It’s such a tough golf course where you’ve got to pick your battles.”
Streelman completed four days at 10-under 274. Weekley, playing some three hours ahead of the leaders, made his challenge with a 63 that kept him with a share of the lead for nearly two hours after leaving the course.
Weekley had just finished a warmup session on the range when Streelman knocked down his clinching birdie at No. 17.
“Even I’m still kind of shocked at how good I really hit it,” Weekley said. “It was one of the best ballstriking days I’ve had in a long time.”
Cameron Tringale also came from well off the pace to grab third, one shot behind Weekley after a 66. Justin Leonard (71), Greg Chalmers (70) and defending champion Luke Donald (69) were another stroke back.
Among those three shots back was 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, whose closing 70 was enough to earn PGA TOUR status as a special temporary member.
After a runner-up finish last week at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com, Spieth needed to finish 13th to earn the $101,295 needed to match No. 150 on last year’s money list. He cleared that with more than $47,000 to spare.
“I never would have guessed that I’d get it this quickly,” said the two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion. “I feel great. I feel in control and I know what it’s like to be in contention in a TOUR event. I just want to come back and get a win now.”
Kevin Streelman carded a 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, his first PGA TOUR victory.
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Kevin Streelman is in position for his best career finish on TOUR. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
On a tough course, one strong round can make all the difference.
Kevin Streelman found that out on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank.
Streelman, who started the day at even–par, seven shots off the pace, after carding nine birdies and nine bogeys in the first two rounds on Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course, had six birdies against no bogeys on moving day to gain a share of the lead at 6-under. That number was matched by George Coetzee (68) and Justin Leonard (67) by day's end.
"I wanted to get to 6‑under today," he said. "I had that number in my mind to at least have a chance going into tomorrow so I was happy to get there. The wind out here can wreak havoc on us. It's turned quite a bit and glad I'm done. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, as well."
Streelman has three third-place finishes in his PGA TOUR career, most recently at the 2010 Barclays. Despite his lack of work on the top of Sunday leaderboards, Streelman knows what he's in for tomorrow as he chases his first-career victory.
"This is my sixth year out here, so I've been in a lot of hairy situations," he said. "I believe in the work I've done and getting more comfortable each year out here. Done a lot of practicing and hung around the right people. Either way, whatever happens, will happen and I'll do my best"
Streelman’s 65 matched the week’s best round. Shawn Stefani carded the number in Round 1 and Erik Compton matched it Friday.
Three players who won PGA TOUR events in 2011 are among the names ranked No. 81-90 that were unveiled Friday on PGATOUR.COM’s Top 100 Players to Watch in 2012.
Below is a link to each of the 10 players who were revealed on Friday. PGATOUR.COM will countdown the players for the rest of December, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
Be sure to check out this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list .
Let’s us know how you think these players will perform in 2012 and whether we ranked ‘em too high, too low or just right.
Bill Lunde entered this week with a two-shot advantage over Cameron Tringale in the season-long Kodak Challenge competition. The lead is now three.
Lunde, who is grouped with Tringale for the first two rounds at TPC Summerlin, applied even more pressure to his closest pursuer Friday by making a 14-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th -- this week’s Kodak Challenge hole.
Lunde and Tringale each birdied the hole in Round 1 when Lunde’s 51-foot eagle putt grazed the left edge of the cup before settling inches away for a tap-in birdie. Tringale, who ran his 37-foot eagle putt by the cup before settling for birdie on Thursday, found the left fairway bunker on Friday and only managed a par.
With just three holes remaining on the schedule, Lunde is certainly in the driver’s seat to win the $1 million Kodak bonus previously earned by Kevin Streelman and Troy Merritt. Tringale, currently tied for 9th at 6 under looks like he’ll have two more chances to eagle the 16th and cut his deficit back to two with the same number of holes (all of which are par 4s) left on the schedule.
Here's a look at the three remaining holes on the Kodak Challenge schedule:
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Phil Mickelson was one hole away from a really, really good round on Saturday.
As it was, the 67 was Mickelson's low round of the week. He made five birdies and an eagle before closing things out with a frustrating double bogey at the 18th hole.
Mickelson, who was playing with Kevin Streelman, couldn't be too disappointed, though. He hit 11 of 14 fairways and all but six greens on Sunday while using 24 putts.
"I played well today," Mickelson acknowledged. "I had fun. Kevin and I both had a good time today and we both were making some birdies, so it was a fun day."
The two fed off each other -- Streelman shot 66 to move into a tie for eighth while Lefty finished another stroke behind. Mickelson's birdie putts came from 16, 4, 5, 9 and 39 feet.
The eagle putt at the 15th hole was another long one of 36 feet. When he finished Sunday afternoon Mickelson was ranked first in approach shot distance to the pin, as well as distance of putts made.
"I hit the ball pretty well tee to green throughout the week," Mickelson said. "I didn't putt the best the first few days, but putted pretty good today."
Mickelson, who was heading up to Congressional for several practice rounds prior to the U.S. Open, wants to build on the momentum he gained Sunday with the flat stick.
He was solid this week from inside 10 feet -- making 65 of 72 putts. But he was 3 of 14 from 10-15 feet, 2 of 12 from 15-20, 0 for 2 from 20-25 and 2 of 12 over 25.
"It's really getting a good feel on the greens," he explained. "It's getting good speed. The first three days my speed was off, so if I had a good read, I either hit it through the break or I'd come up short, miss it low, because I didn't use enough pace.
“My speed from outside of 6 feet, 6 to 35 feet, the putts you've really got to make to get a good round going, was off a little bit the first few days. Today even the ones that missed were rolling about a foot and a half by, which is about the speed I'm looking for."
A U.S. Open title is also on Mickelson’s wish list. He has four majors on his resume –- three Masters and one PGA –- and five close-but-no-cigar finishes at the U.S. Open.
“I've come close five times now … which is actually a good sign in the sense that it's a course or a setup that probably nobody thought I would do well on throughout my career and yet I've played some of my better golf in the U.S. Open,” Mickelson said.
“And I just need a few breaks here and there or maybe a few less mistakes here or there to be able to come out on top.”
Just how difficult did TPC San Antonio play in the second round? Here’s a rundown:
-- Just 13 players broke par and through two rounds only 16 players were under par for the tournament.
-- The scoring average in Round 2 was 75.283 -- more than three
strokes over par. The last time a round was
that high was the opening round of this year’s Honda Classic, where the average was 73.875 on the par-70 layout.
-- There were seven bogey-free rounds in the opening round compared to just one bogey-free round in Round 2.
-- There were 600 bogeys in Round 2 -- more than 150 more than there were in the opening round -- and there was at least one double bogey on each of the 18 holes at TPC San Antonio.
Most of that was due to the wind and tough pin positions. In Round 3, the wind is only in the 15-mph range and players are taking advantage of the much calmer conditions.
Martin Piller is already 3 under through nine holes -- and in a tie for the lead -- while Fredrik Jacobson and Kevin Streelman are 5 and 3 under, respectively. Pat Perez has also moved into contention at 3 under early in his round.
In other words, it looks like moving day won’t involve the lead moving backwards.