Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Scott, Choi sound retreat in Tampa

Leaders take day off Saturday, so race wide open

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Kevin Streelman figured a good round Saturday would at least get him in the mix at the Tampa Bay Championship.

It wound up giving him a share of the lead.

Adam Scott and K.J. Choi led a surprising retreat at Innisbrook, allowing for a wild game of musical chairs at the top of the leaderboard with nothing remotely close to being settled going into the final round. Sixteen players were separated by only three shots.

Four birdies

Streelman finished his 6-under 65 nearly three hours before the last group walked off the 18th green. Justin Leonard ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn and had the lead to himself before a bogey from the bunker on the 15th. He had a 67. George Coetzee bounced back from his lone bogey with a birdie on the rowdy 17th hole, where Hooters waitresses serve wings in the grandstands. That gave him a 68.

They were tied at 6-under 207, more evidence that the Copperhead course is perhaps the most complete test in Florida. Even on a warm, breezy afternoon, it was easier to go backward that to move away from the field.

Scott and Choi were proof of that.

Scott had a two-putt birdie on the opening hole to briefly take the lead, and that was the highlight of his day. He three-putted from about 15 feet for bogey on third, made bogey with a wedge in his hand on the par-5 fifth hole and stumbled to a 76. Choi, who also was one shot out of the lead, didn't make a birdie in his round of 76.

They still were only five shots out of the lead.

Shawn Stefani, the 31-year-old rookie who led by one, had a 74 and still was only two shots behind. His day could have been much worse except for a tee shot that caromed off a tree and into the fairway on the second hole, and a big hook on the third that hit the tire of a golf cart and stayed in play. Instead of hitting his third shot from the tee, he could reach the green for a two-putt par.

The group one shot out of the lead included 2010 winner Jim Furyk (67) and Ben Kohles (69), the Virginia grad who last summer went from college to two straight wins on the Web.com Tour to earn a spot in the big leagues.

Defending champion Luke Donald had a 67 and was only two shots behind at 4-under 209, along with 19-year-old Jordan Spieth of Texas, who is coming off a runner-up finish in Puerto Rico and can be set for the year on the PGA Tour the rest of the year depending on how he plays today.

He looks as if he's good enough to win.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 17, 2013 B13

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