Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Streelman wins Tampa Bay Championship

PALM HARBOR

Kevin Streelman could have gotten caught up in the moment when he stood on the 18th tee of Innisbrook's Copperhead Course with a two-shot lead in the final round of the Tampa Bay Championship. He could have thought about the time in 2002 when he ran out of money playing the Gateway Tour and had to caddy and scrub clubs at two courses in Scottsdale, Ariz., to make ends meet.

Or the time in 2003 when he just missed out on becoming the assistant golf coach at Duke, his alma mater. Or the three cars he blew out traveling from tournament to tournament on the minitours.

Or the 152 other PGA Tour events he had played since earning his card in 2008 without getting a victory.

Instead, Streelman ripped his drive down the middle. He hit his wedge to the center of the green and easily two-putted for a final-round 4-under 67 to secure his first tournament win Sunday.

Streelman, who started his third round at par, didn't make a bogey over his final 36 holes and finished at 10-under 274, two shots better than Boo Weekley, who shot 63, the second-lowest final round in tournament history.

Streelman, 34, earned $990,000.

"It's an accumulation of a lot of hard work," he said. "It's a lot of time spent working late in the evening and getting up early in the morning. It's a dream come true."

Streelman, who played in the final group with 1997 British Open champion Justin Leonard, had to outduel a number of players who were in contention throughout the day.

Weekley made the biggest move, finishing his round as the leaders were teeing off. He began with three birdies on the front nine, then caught fire on the back nine. He had five birdies, including three straight on Nos. 14-16, and shot a back-nine 30.

"It was impressive," Weekley said. "I'm still kind of shocked at how well I hit it. I putted the ball well. I had three or four tap-ins."

Weekley's score stood up until Streelman birdied the par-3 13th hole. After birdies on the first and third holes, Streelman rattled off nine straight pars until the 13th. He hit a cut 5 iron to 6 feet of the front right pin placement and drained the putt to move to 9 under.

"We've worked really hard on that shot," Streelman said. "It's one thing to do it on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but to do it on a Sunday was big."

Streelman stayed steady on the next three holes. Then on the par-3 17th, he hit his tee shot to 19 feet and drained the putt to take a two-shot lead over Weekley with one hole to play.

"That freed my mind up a little bit," Streelman said. "I knew I needed bogey to win, and I told my caddie I should do something different on 18. He told me to rip that driver down the middle. I flushed that and knocked the wedge onto the green. It's really magical."

Leonard and George Coetzee were tied for the lead with Streelman at 6 under when the day began. Neither could make a move. Leonard shot par 71 to finish at 6 under. Coetzee shot 3-over 74 and finished at 3 under.

Cameron Tringale made a late run with 5-under 66 to finish third at 7 under, his best finish since turning pro in 2009.

"Like they say in golf, you can't control what other people do," Tringale, 25, said. "I played a solid round of golf, one of the best of my year. That's all you can do."

Streelman said he entered the week with low expectations. He spent the previous Sunday in the emergency room with a virus and didn't feel like himself again until Thursday's first round.

And he doesn't have a great history on the Copperhead Course. He tied for 10th at last year's tournament but missed the cut in 2009 and withdrew in 2008 after shooting 84 in the third round.

"I'm a more mature golfer and person than I was then," Streelman said.

Streelman also qualified for the Masters with his win.

"I have a level of comfort and confidence," he said. "I've put in the work. I kept it one shot at a time. I was really at peace."

>>fast facts

Shot of the day

It wasn't a shot that won the tournament, but it is one 19-year-old Jordan Spieth will never forget. Needing a birdie on one of his final two holes to earn enough money to get a temporary PGA Tour membership for the rest of the season, Spieth chipped in for birdie out of the deep rough on No. 17. He turned pro in December and entered this season with no status on the tour.

Streelman wins Tampa Bay Championship 03/17/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.