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It took 34-year-old Kevin Streelman 153 starts to claim victory on the PGA Tour, but the former Duke University Blue Devil and mini-tour regular made his perserverance pay off by closing with a flawless 67 over the Innisbrook Resort’s demanding Copperhead course to claim the Tampa Bay Championship.  On a day which saw Boo Weekley tee off three hours before the leaders, shoot a dazzling 63 and set the bar at eight-under-par, Streelman never blinked coming down the homestretch, recording a clutch birdie at the par-3 17th to clinch a two-shot margin over Weekley, with Cameron Tringale (who closed with 66) taking solo third, three shots adrift.  Also coming up big was 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, whose chip in at the 71st hole allowed him to tie for seventh, and thus narrowly earn enough to qualify for special temporary Tour membership, allowing him to take unlimited sponsor exemptions for the duration of 2013.  For Streelman, whose previous claim to fame was winning the $1 million Kodak Bonus competition in 2009, the run home included nary a bogey over the final 37 holes and culminates a long road that included logging over 400,000 miles of mini-tour driving before finally arriving on the PGA Tour in 2008.  The victory was also the 14th straight by an American on the PGA Tour, a streak dating to late 2012, and the longest such run since 1989.  World number three Luke Donald (who closed with 69) headed a group tying for fourth (four strokes off the pace) and was joined there by Justin Leonard, who held a share of the lead well into the final nine...............Buoyed by a superb third round 62, Thomas Aiken became the sixth South African to claim victory on the 2013 European Tour, cruising home to a three-shot triumph at the Avantha Masters, played at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort outside of New Delhi.  Aiken was chased home by homestanding star Gaganjeet Bhullar (who took second with a Sunday 64) and China’s Wen-Chong Liang, who carded a hole-in-one at the seventh en route to a closing 69, and solo third.  Bhullar actually opened with two birdies and an eagle over Sunday’s first five holes, and later logged three more birdies on the back before a 72nd hole bogey ended his chances.  For the 29-year-old Aiken, the victory represented a second title on the European Tour (following a 2011 Spanish Open triumph), where he has played fairly regularly after logging seven early career wins on his native Sunshine circuit.  Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat closed with 69 to take solo fourth while 22-year-old Korean Seuk-Hyun Baek carded a final-round 66 to finish fifth.  Also notable was the performance of Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, who carded an 11-under-par 61 on Thursday (tying an E Tour record by taking a five-shot first round lead) before disappointing rounds of 74-72-70 saw him home tied for 23rd...............Forty-seven-year-old Prayad Marksaeng became only the third native to win the Thailand Open, stringing together rounds of 68, 67, 65 and 64 to edge Australian Scott Strange by two in the tournament’s first playing as a co-sanctioned event on the Japan and OneAsia Tours.  Amidst low scoring at the Thana City Golf & Sports Club in Bangkok, Marksaeng became the first home winner since Boonchu Ruangkit in 2004 and celebrated by jumping into a lake adjacent o the 18th green.  The win was Marksaeng’s fourth on the Japan Tour (to go with six official Asia Tour triumphs) and comes at a time in his career when his form otherwise might be expected to be on the wane.  Strange, who closed in 67, kept the heat on Marksaeng through 71 holes before a bogey t the last left him two shots back.  His fellow Aussie Nick Cullen (who closed with 65) took solo third while a group of six players headed by defending champion Chris Wood shared fourth...............Having won the Dimension Data Pro-Am a month ago to the day, South African Jaco Van Zyl triumphed for the second time on the 2013 Sunshine Tour, closing with a 69 over the Country Club Johannesburg’s Woodmead course to edge tour rookie Dylan Frittelli by one at the Telkom PGA Championship.  Also a winner here in 2009, the 34-year-old Van Zyl shared the third round lead with Chris Swanepoel and fell behind early, trailing by four at the turn.  But Van Zyl carded three birdies over the final seven holes before ultimately pulling ahead when Swanepoel swooned with four bogeys over the final five.  The victory was the 12th on his home circuit for Van Zyl, the 2000 South African Amateur champion, and returned him to the top 100 of the OWR, where he previously peaked at 76th in March of 2012.  Tou veteran Jean Hugo claimed solo fourth (on 271) with Ulrich Van Der Berg finishing alone in fifth, on stroke further back.

Posted on Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 08:20PM by Registered CommenterDaniel | Comments Off