Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Streelman's win puts him in Masters

Outduels Leonard over final holes to claim first title in 153 starts

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Kevin Streelman finally won on the PGA Tour with a game that looked as if he had done this many times before.

Streelman didn't make a bogey over the final 37 holes on the tough Copperhead course at Innisbrook. He didn't miss a shot over the last 11 holes on his way to a 4-under 67 on Sunday for a two-shot win in the Tampa Bay Championship.

Boo Weekley, who teed off three hours before the leaders, had a tournament-best 63 and waited to see if that would be enough.

Streelman, locked in a battle with Justin Leonard over the final hour, came up with one clutch shot after another. He hit 5-iron into 6 feet on the par-3 13th hole, the toughest at Innisbrook in the final round, to take the lead for good.

"Probably the best shot of my life in that situation," Streelman said. "It's just how I envisioned it and I pulled it off."

He locked up the win with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and he was all smiles walking up the 18th fairway. Until Sunday, the biggest tournament Streelman won might have been the club championship at Whisper Rock.

He won in his 153rd start on the PGA Tour, and it sends him to the Masters next month for the second time in his career.

"That was really cool," Streelman said. "I just stayed really patient, and I had a peace about me today."

He finished at 10-under 274.

Cameron Tringale had a 66 and finished alone in third when Leonard, who earlier made bogey from the bunker on the 16th, three-putted the final hole for a 71. Leonard wound up in a tie for fourth with defending champion Luke Donald (69) and Greg Chalmers (70).

The other big winner was Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old from Texas who holed a 50-foot chip for birdie on the 17th hole and made a 7-foot par putt on the final hole for a 70 to tie for seventh.

That gave him enough money to earn special temporary membership on the PGA Tour for the rest of the year, meaning he can take unlimited sponsor exemptions.

Until making that chip, Spieth was projected to be $195 short of the temporary membership, which is based on earning the equivalent of 150th on the money list last year.

"That would have been brutal," he said with a grin. "But it's nice to get the crowd excited on 17. That was one of the coolest shots I've ever hit. That was as loud as it gets. Hair on the back of your neck stands up. But yeah, if I was $200, short, I would have just asked if I could pay them $200."

He now has earned $521,893 in three starts, the bulk of that coming from a runner-up finish in the Puerto Rico Open last week.

Americans have won the first 12 events of the season.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2013 C12

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