Kevin Streelman won on TOUR for the first time in 153 starts as he mastered the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla. He fired 65-67 on the weekend to post 10-under-par 274 to best fellow countryman Boo Weekley by two shots. American Cameron Tringale finished three behind Streelman to secure third by himself.
Streelman was caddying at Whisper Rock just 10 years ago and now he’s a winner on TOUR. Streelman joined the TOUR in 2008 and has never finished better than 71st on the money list nor has he finished worse than 109th (2012). Heading into this season gamers didn’t have many reasons to look in Streelman’s direction as he posted just three top 10s in 26 events en route to his worst season on TOUR money-wise. The only times we were seeing him on television on the weekends was when the mentoring commercials were running!
What a difference a year makes! In 2013 his game has really come together as a whole. He’s currently 22nd in the all-around category but that has only translated into one top 10 and one top 25 in seven events including MC last week. His form was exactly pointing us to a W this week for gamers. If you dug a little deeper Streelman did post all four rounds in the 60s here last year to finish T10. This year, he got off to a rocky start as he opened with 73 on Thursday but came back with 69 on Friday before his simply fantastic weekend of 65-67. With this victory, Streelman wins $990,000, 500 FedExCup points and he’s now exempt through 2015.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
There have been 12 tournaments on TOUR this season. All 12 winners have been Americans.
In 2013 nine of the 11 stroke-play events this season the 54-hole leader (or co-leader) has gone on to victory. In 2012, this was the exact opposite trend.
Streelman is the fifth first-time winner of 2013 joining Russell Henley, John Merrick, Michael Thompson and Scott Brown.
Streelman joins Carl Pettersson (2005) and Gary Woodland (2011) as first-time winners on TOUR at the Tampa Bay Classic.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods TWICE (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29) and now Streelman (34). The young folks (30 and younger) have five victories; the 30-somethings have five victories; and the “old folks” (40 and up) have their two wins.
Here’s the top 10 and we learned about them:
Boo Weekley: His solid play continues for a third week in a row as his Sunday 63 was the low round of the tournament. He made eight birdies and zero bogeys on a tough Copperhead course and jumped 33 spots into second. That’s now six cuts in a row for Weekley as his ball-striking continues to be top-notch. His last three outings have been T25, T8 last week and second this week. Ball-striker did well on a ball-striker course and now he can get some fishin’ in before he tees it up in Orlando.
Cameron Tringale: Similar to Weekley, it was Tringale’s bogey-free round of 66 on Sunday that vaulted him to solo third to post his best career finish on TOUR. Tringale has bags of talent and has finished 64th (2011) and 56th (2012) the last two seasons on TOUR. Gamers, he’s been quiet to open this season but it was the Shell-Valero-Zurich swing last year where he banged home top 10s in all three events. It looks like he started a week early this year! He’s now on your radar for the rest of March and April!
Luke Donald: Yep, now you know why everyone had them in their fantasy games this week. He’s automatic on this course as he adds T4 in his attempted defense of his title last year and his T6 in 2010. Donald has gotten off to a quiet start this year but this should be a step in the right direction as he ramps up to the Masters. Salary gamers will be happy to see this result. Too bad we missed out on the LUUUUUUUUUUUUUKE versus BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO playoff.
Greg Chalmers: After taunting fantasy gamers after winning twice in December of 2011 in Australia, Chalmers put up exactly one top 10 in 2012. For those of you who found value in a player who made 20 of 25 cuts in 2012 and went with him again, he’s already hit the top 10 twice in six events (T10 at Riviera) with Sunday’s T4. He made a run at the leaders before a double at No. 10 and a bogey at No. 13 wiped out his chance to win. The “Snake” though bit back at “The Snake Pit” as he birdied two of the last four coming in to post his best finish since T4 at the RBC Canadian in 2010.
Justin Leonard: 40-year old J-Lo has now made the cut in seven of eight starts in 2013 yet this is his first top 25 and top 10 (T4). Leonard, who has not won since FESJC in 2008, matches his best result since Reno-Tahoe Open last August. He’s now made eight cuts in nine starts here including now four straight of T29 or better. I’m not jumping on board after one performance on a course he obviously plays well.
Pat Perez: He hasn’t picked up a club on TOUR since he played the first six events of 2013. He opened with T9 at Sony and has added a T7 after his very solid 67 Sunday afternoon. This is Perez’s second top 10 in 10 events at Innisbrook stretching all the way back to 2002 when he was T7. He only made eight bogeys this week so rust wasn’t an issue!
Sergio Garcia: When he’s in a field like this, you expect him to put up a top 10 and be in contention. He did both this week before he ran out of holes on Sunday. On courses that are tight and accuracy tee-to-green is required, it’s good to see that Garcia lived up to his “automatic” selection in any game.
Harris English: He said last year he likes tree-lined courses. This was a tree-lined course. He also won the Southern Amateur on this course in 2011 so he should have some positive feelings when he steps on the property. In 2013, English opened with T9 at the Sony but in his next six starts he made four cuts but his best finish was only T51. Sophomore slump? His T7 today showed he has all the talent to play out here and some guys just prefer certain courses over others. He’ll be back here next year and he will be on my radar.
Shawn Stefani: The man who led after the first two rounds was teeing it up for the ninth time in his career on TOUR. He’s on TOUR because he won twice last year on the Web.com Tour and finished in the top 25 in 10 of the 14 cuts he made. He showed some guts this weekend when he went out in 40 on Saturday and didn’t mail it in; he rallied for 34 on the back to keep himself in the tournament. Four birdies to three bogeys on Sunday meant his best finish in seven events this season and in his career. I have a feeling he’ll be joining some season-long games and weekly drafts after this week. He’s 14th in ball-striking yet only 144th in strokes-gained putting.
Jordan Spieth: One of the most popular questions this week in our chat was invest or not invest in the 19-year-old rookie without any status on TOUR after his T2 finish last week in Puerto Rico. Well, we don’t have to worry about that question anymore as his T7 finish has pushed him to earn “Special Temporary Membership” for the rest of 2013. This means that he can accept any and all sponsor’s exemptions and has unlimited starts. In his last three starts he’s finished T22 (AT&T Pebble Beach), T2 (Puerto Rico) and now T7 this week. He’s made around $500,000 in that time. He’s 19. He needs to be on your radar if he wasn’t after last week.
Ben Kohles: After winning his first two starts as professional last summer on the Web.com Tour, aspiring fantasy golfers should have known his name. After finishing fifth in his fourth career start, ALL fantasy golfers HAD to know his name. His first year on the TOUR has seen him now make the cut in five of seven events. Entering this week, his best finish was T39 last week in Puerto Rico. As we saw this week, he’s not super long but he is hyper accurate off the tee and is 14th in total putting. Sounds like mini-Luke Donald, right?
Jim Furyk: Get out your permanent marker. Write down in ALL CAPS: I WILL PUT JIM FURYK ON MY 2014 TAMPA BAY CLASSIC TEAM NO MATTER WHAT. He finished T7 this year after losing in a playoff in 2012, T13 in 2011 and WIN in 2010. He loves this place. Love it with him.