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All-Star Shootout in Hawaii
Though Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy aren't playing, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is shaping up as a shootout involving some of pro golf's other biggest names.
2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth, No. 9-ranked Zach Johnson, 2013 PGA winner Jason Dufner, 13th-ranked Brandt Snedeker, and defending champion Dustin Johnson are all in the mix in the $5.7 million PGA Tour event, which began Friday at the Plantation Course at Kapalua on Maui, Hi.
At the end of Sunday's third round, Simpson (68), Spieth (69) and Dustin Johnson (69) shared the lead at 14-under 205. Zach Johnson, who held the 36-hole lead after rounds of 67 and 66, carded a 1-over 74 on the par-73 course designed by Coore-Crenshaw and is two strokes back at 207.
There's another promising logjam in fifth at 208. That group includes Gary Woodland, who shot 67, Dufner (69), Snedeker (69) and Kevin Streelman (70).
Simpson has been happy with his play, particularly this early in the season. "I feel like I'm getting more comfortable with what I'm working on," said the winner of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last October.
"I was able to capitalize on those holes where you need to make birdie. I've just got to stay patient (Monday). If you don't get it going early, you've got plenty of opportunities on the back nine," added Simpson.
Sharing ninth at 209 are Patrick Reed (67), Chris Kirk (68) and Scott, who's carded rounds of 70, 70 and 69.
Woody Austin (68), Ken Duke (71), Ryan Moore (72) and Michael Thompson (73) are tied for 12th at 210, and another stroke back are Harris English (70) and Brian Gay, who fired Sunday's low round, an 8-under 65 that included an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey.
Also at 211 is Matt Kuchar - at No. 7 the second-highest-rated player in the tournament behind only No. 2 Scott - who began the third round only three back of Zach Johnson. The Georgia native got off to a good start with two birdies in the first seven holes. But the six-time Tour winner went backwards from there with four bogeys the rest of the way en route to a 2-over 75.
Sharing 19th in the 30-player field at 212 are Scott Brown and Billy Horschel, who each carded a 5-under 68, and another stroke back are Jimmy Walker (67), Bill Haas (69), Scotland's Martin Laird (70) and South Korean Sang-Moon Bae (71).
Rounding out the leaderboard in 25th place is Russell Henly (70), and another shot back are Sweden's Jonas Blixt (69) and Milton, Fla., native Boo Weekley (70). John Merrick carded a 71 for 28th at 1-under 218, and at even-par 219 is D.A. Points (73).
Derek Ernst, who got his first Tour win in the Wells Fargo Championship last May, continued to struggle in Hawaii. The 23-year-old Californian has carded rounds of 79, 76 and 76 and stands at 12-over 231 in the no-cut 72-hole tournament.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.