Justin Leonard's 67 keeps him tied with Kevin Streelman, George Coetzee at tough Innisbrook
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Justin Leonard walked toward the 12th green Saturday at Innisbrook and saw a scoreboard that showed he was tied for the lead in the Tampa Bay Championship. He knocked in his 8-foot birdie putt, assumed he was ahead, and then never looked at another scoreboard the rest of the day.
He might do the same Sunday.
There’s no point in staring at scores, not with so many names separated by so few shots. Besides, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook is playing so difficult even in pleasant weather that it’s best not to think about anything except the next shot.
“It is hard,” Leonard said after his 4-under 67 put him in a three-way tie for the lead with Kevin Streelman and George Coetzee of South Africa. “There’s not a whole lot of birdie holes on those last six holes. With the greens getting firmer and faster as they did today — which I’m sure they will again tomorrow. You have to be pretty patient out there and really pick your spots pretty carefully.”
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Sixteen players were separated by only three shots.
Streelman finished his 6-under 65 nearly three hours before the last group walked off the 18th green.
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. 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.
Shawn Stefani, the 31-year-old rookie who led by one after two rounds, had a 74 and still was only two shots behind.
Two former Washington Huskies are far back. Troy Kelly had a 73 for a 215 total and is tied for 50th. Richard H. Lee had a 74 for a 218 and is tied for 71st.
trails by one
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — David Frost maintained a one-stroke lead over Seattle product Fred Couples in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic, eagling the final hole for a 5-under 66.
After opening with a 63, Frost had a 13-under 129 total. The South African made an 18-foot putt for the eagle on the par-5 18th, while Couples two-putted from 35 feet for birdie and a 66 of his own.
Couples spent more time on the range before the round to stay loose, but battled his driver most of the day. He hit only six of 14 fairways, but was more frustrated with his short irons.
“I let a couple of easy 8-iron shots go,” Couples said. “I bogeyed the fourth hole and the sixth hole from 145 yards, which really kind of killed me, but I made it up with a few good putts.”
Kirk Triplett, a Pullman High graduate, had a 73 for a 144 and is tied for 56th.
• Ai Miyazato pulled back in front in the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, making three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine. She shot her second consecutive 5-under 67. At 19-under 197, she had a four-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Jee Young Lee. Lewis was penalized two strokes when it was determined that caddie Travis Wilson tested the sand before Lewis played out of a bunker on the par-4 16th. That turned a 66 into a 68. Jimin Kang, a Shoreline High graduate, had a 67 for a 204 total and is tied for eighth. Paige Mackenzie, a former Husky, had a 71 for a 211 total and is tied for 47th.
• South African Thomas Aiken shot a 10-under 62 to lead in the Avantha Masters by three shots in Greater Noida, India.
• Lucas Lee of Brazil shot a 65 to take a one-shot lead at the Thailand Open in Bangkok.