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Streelman Nabs First PGA Tour Victory
Kevin Streelman closed with a 4-under 67 to nail down the first PGA Tour title of his career. The 34-year-old Illinois native finished at 10-under 274 for a two-stroke victory in the $5.5 million Tampa Bay Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Streelman, who began the final round tied for the lead with Justin Leonard and South Africa's George Coetzee, carded two birdies on each of the front and back nines at the difficult Copperhead course, with no bogeys Sunday.
He edged Boo Weekley, who fired the tournament's low round, an 8-under 63, by two and Cameron Tringale (66) by three. Defending champion Luke Donald (69), Australia's Greg Chalmers (70) and Leonard (71) shared fourth at 278.
The win, worth $990,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points, came in Streelman's 153rd start on the PGA Tour. In addition to a Tour exemption through 2015, the win earned him a trip to Augusta National for next month's Masters, his second career appearance in the year's first major championship.
"That was really cool," Streelman said of playing in the Masters. "I just stayed really patient, and I had a peace about me today."
Weekley posted his 63 early Sunday; he finished three hours before the leaders reached the clubhouse and waited the rest of the day until they finished in case of a playoff. The 39-year-old native of Milton, Fla., whose last win came in the 2008 Verizon Heritage, was at a loss to explain his wonderful round.
"Even I'm still kind of shocked at how good I really hit it," Weekley said. "It was one of the best ball-striking days I've had in a long time."
Tied for seventh at 279 were Pat Perez (67), Sergio Garcia (69), Harris English (69), Shawn Stefani (70), Jordan Spieth (70), Ben Kohles (71) and Jim Furyk (71).
By finishing seventh, Spieth, a 19-year-old from Dallas who turned pro in December and has been playing on a sponsor's exemption this year, has now earned $521,893 this year, with much of that coming from his T-2 finish in last week's Puerto Rico Open.
The two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion has earned temporary PGA Tour membership and can now take unlimited sponsor's exemptions in hopes of finishing in the top-125 and earning an automatic Tour card. His chances for doing that were looking bleak at the end of Sunday's round. But he came through when it counted the most as he had a hole-out on a 50-foot chip at the 17th hole and a 7-foot par putt on the last for his T-7 finish.
Prior to those heroics, it was looking like Spieth would come up $195 short of temporary membership. "That would have been brutal," he told reporters of that possibility. "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 asked if I could pay them $200."
Stewart Cink (68), Matt Kuchar (69) and Brian Harman (71) ended up in 14th at 280, while another stroke back were Canada's Graham DeLaet (67), Webb Simpson (68), Tag Ridings (73) and Coetzee, who closed with a 3-over 74.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.