Streelman wins by 2 in Florida

Updated: March 17, 2013

Kevin Streelman closed with a 4-under 67 on Sunday to earn a 2-stroke win at the Tampa Bay Championship.

Streelman, who won for the first time on the PGA Tour, finished at 10-under- par 274.

“I just stayed really patient and had a peace about me today,” Streelman stated. “It’s such a tough golf course where you’ve got to pick your battles.”

Boo Weekley came from well off the pace thanks to an 8-under 63 to end alone in second at minus-8. Cameron Tringale posted a 5-under 66 to take third at 7- under-par 277.

Justin Leonard, who shared the third-round lead with Streelman and George Coetzee, bogeyed the last for a closing 71. He was joined in fourth place at minus-6 with 2012 champion Luke Donald (69) and Greg Chalmers (70).

Sergio Garcia (69), 2010 champion Jim Furyk (71), Pat Perez (67), first- and second-round leader Shawn Stefani (70), Harris English (69), Jordan Spieth (70) and Ben Kohles (71) shared seventh place at 5-under 279 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

Coetzee struggled to a 3-over 74 and finished in a tie for 17th at minus-3.

Before Streelman and Leonard teed off, four players had joined them in the lead and Coetzee parred the first to keep his share of the 6-way tie atop the leaderboard.

Streelman 2-putted from 34 feet out for birdie at the first. Leonard chipped to two feet and made his birdie try as well.

Weekley stuffed his tee shot to two feet at the par-3 15th. He tapped in for birdie and a share of the lead. Coetzee birdied the third and Chalmers birdie No. 4 to grab a piece of the lead.

Streelman moved to 8-under as he chipped in for birdie at the third. Weekley joined him there with a kick-in birdie at 16.

Weekley parred the final two holes to get in at minus-8. He waited nearly three and half hours as the leaders completed their rounds to see if he would get into a playoff.

“It was impressive. Even I’m still kind of shocked at how well I really hit it,” Weekley admitted. “It was one of the best ball-striking days I’ve had in a long time. I had three or four tap-ins today.”

Leonard converted an 11-foot birdie putt at the ninth to join Weekley and Streelman atop the leaderboard. Leonard tripped to a bogey at the 10th, but atoned for that mistake with a 5-foot birdie effort at No. 12.

The par-3 13th proved to be the turning point. Streelman, who had parred nine in a row, converted a 6-footer for birdie to get to minus-9. Leonard missed the green, then 2-putted for bogey to slide two back.

Leonard erased that mistake with a 4-foot birdie putt at 14, but stumbled to bogeys at 16 and 18 to slide to minus-6.

Streelman, after three pars in a row, drained a 19-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th to climb to minus-10. He calmly 2-putted for par at the last to seal a bogey-free round and the victory.

“I had a couple numbers on the par-3s that I knew were perfect for the shots I wanted to hit and really executed some pretty sweet ones,” Streelman said. “That par-3 13th was probably my best shot, probably of my life in that situation. It was exactly how I envisioned it and was able to pull it off.”

NOTES: Streelman, who was making his 153rd PGA Tour start, earned $990,000 for the victory … Thanks to his tie for seventh, Spieth earned special temporary membership, which means he gains unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the year … Streelman’s win pushes the streak of American winners to 12 to open the PGA Tour season.