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Stricker Headlines Trio Tied For Lead Heading to Final Round in Hawaii

Stricker Headlines Trio Tied For Lead Heading to Final Round in Hawaii

Steve Stricker rode a hot putter in round three at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions en route to a 64 vaulting the long-time veteran into a tie for the lead at 18-under with 18 holes to play.  He heads to the final round tied with Jonathan Byrd and third round leader Robert Garrigus.

Stricker missed just two greens in round three and averaged under 1.5 putts per green hit.  A perfect recipe for a good run and he’s got the pedigree to keep things going thru the final 18.

The man from Wisconsin had another world class season in 2010 with two wins and over $4-million in earnings.  It’s no wonder he’s the bookmakers’ favourite at even money.

Robert Garrigus will have to avoid the big numbers on Sunday that stunted his round on Saturday.  Granted he did recover beautifully from a slow start as Garrigus started his third round with a double bogey, but nullified that with an eagle on 18.

There’s nothing wrong with hesitating on Garrigus, however, as he’s shown a tendency to put up big and bigger numbers when in the crunch.  In his defence, he is using his length to great effect this week and if things are tied coming to 18 it wouldn’t be a surprise if the final PGA winner of 2010 pulled out the first victory of 2011, but that’s a lot of ‘what ifs’.

Second on the board is first and second round leader Jonathan Byrd who shot 67 yesterday.

Unlike Garrigus, Byrd is one tough player when he’s in contention, as was seen when he canned it for a hole-in-one and a playoff win in 2010, although he doesn’t get there often.

Even with Stricker at even money, it would be foolish to count out Byrd this week especially considering how he finished on Saturday as he made four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine.

The longer odds heading to the final round include second round co-leader Carl Pettersson and 2010 money leader Matt Kuchar.

Petterson is at 15-under, three off the leading trio, and he’ll have to get his driver in order if he wants to make a run for victory today.  The Swedish veteran hit just 60% of the fairways at Kapalua’s Plantation Course on Saturday losing considerable ground with his 2-under 71.

Kuchar, meanwhile, is four back, but shot his best round of the tournament yesterday firing an eight birdie 66.  He shot a blistering 31 on the front in round three and if he can get a similar start today he should be in the mix coming down the stretch.


A guy in my position, sometimes you play conservative just because you don't want to screw up  - Steve Stricker

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