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The Tour Report
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March 16 2013

7:18 PM

Tougher course creates tight race

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor 

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – The final round of the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank shapes up as a mass Sunday sprint.

Kevin Streelman’s 6-under-par 65 was good enough to vault from the middle of the pack to a share of the lead with Justin Leonard and South Africa’s George Coetzee, with a cluster of 13 pursuers within three shots of the lead.

“It is hard. There’s not a whole lot of birdies on those last six holes,” said Leonard, who carded a 67. “You have to be pretty patient out there and really pick your spots carefully.”

Coetzee, making his first PGA TOUR start outside a major or World Golf Championships event, posted a 68. All three men teed off at least 40 minutes ahead of the final group, as shifting breezes upended the entire leaderboard.

The trio completed 54 holes at 6-under 207, as the leading score actually moved backward – Shawn Stefani’s 7-under total topped the board to begin the day.

“The wind was completely different from what they told us on the first tee,” Streelman said. “So that makes it really difficult because you’re planning on playing the course accordingly. It’s just one of those days. I played smart and made putts when I needed to.”

Jim Furyk, the 2010 champion and a playoff loser last year, used a 67 to head up a quartet lurking one shot off the pace. He was joined by Greg Chalmers (69), Tag Ridings (70) and rookie Ben Kohles (67).

Defending champion Luke Donald (67) and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth (69) were among five players at 4-under, along with Bryce Molder (68), Brian Harman (72) and the faltering Stefani (74).

For all Stefani’s struggles, though, he didn’t get the worst from among the final groups. Playing competitor Adam Scott skied to a 76, as did two-time Tampa Bay champion K.J. Choi. Harris English, paired with Choi, had a 73.

Toss in Harman and Jason Dufner (74), and Saturday's last three pairings played the Copperhead in a combined 19-over par.

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