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Ames in with a chance at Copperhead
PALM HABOUR—T&T’s Stephen Ames was eyeing a run at the US$5.5 million Tampa Bay Championship after a third round 69 left him just five shots adrift of the lead heading into today’s final round. The Canada-based Ames, who has struggled all season, went two-under yesterday to finish the day tied for 21st on the leaderboard at one-under 212.
Americans Kevin Streelman and Justin Leonard, along with South African George Coetzee share the clubhouse lead at six-under, with a four-man group headed by veteran American Jim Furyk another stroke back. Playing on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, Ames struggled over the first nine with three bogeys and only a single birdie, to make the turn at two-over.
His start was a rough one. He found the left side fairway bunker off the tee on the 560-yard, par-five first and then missed a four-foot putt to save par. He then bogeyed the fifth, another long par-five, after missing a key 14-footer and despite picking up a shot on the seventh, he floundered again on the eighth when he found the green side bunker off the short par-three.
However, he sparked on the back nine with four birdies to finish his outing strongly. On the 445-yard, par-four first, he found the middle of the fairway off the tee before knocking down a nine-footer for birdie. He followed up on the tricky par-four 12th when he safely navigated the watercourses to lay up for a near 19-foot birdie putt.
Additional birdies on the 15th and 18th saw Ames pick up momentum towards the end. On Friday, Ames shot an even-par 71 to follow up his first round 72, to avoid the cut set at two-over and break a worrying sequence of missed cuts that had seen him eliminated early in four of his last five outings. Ames tees off today at 12:01 pm and will play alongside American Robert Streb. (CMC)
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