Shawn Stefani is just another in the long line of PGA Tour rookies to shine in the 2013 Golf Season. The 31 year old rookie from Baytown, Texas shot an opening round -6 under par, 65 at The Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. In cool, windy conditions on the famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. Stefani began his day on the back nine, and was bogey free on Thursday, not anywhere near a bogey until the 9th hole(his final hole). He gathered himself, and rolled the par putt in the hole for the lead.
“Kind of fought through a couple of bad shots coming in — or not-so-great shots — and managed to get balls up-and-down and make a few putts,” Stefani said. “So all in all, today was a great day and looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.”
The Copperhead Course, which is considered by many, as one of the best tracts on the Florida Swing, played two shots over par, and only 13 players broke 70, and only 25 broke par.
Brian Harman had a share of the lead, but came up short on the ninth hole, and made his lone bogey of the day to take sole possession of second place at -5 under par. Harris English had the lead for a good part of the day, but double bogeyed the 18th hole to drop into a tie for third place with Tag Ridings, and Brendan Steele. English went to college at the University of Georgia, and was a roommate with Harman.
Defending champion, Luke Donald started his day at the tenth hole, and built a -4 total before stumbling on the way in. With three bogeys in the last four holes, he had visions of the 18th hole at Doral where he is just having trouble with finishing rounds this season. The worlds number three player shot a -1 under 71 on Thursday, and is in a tie with ten other golfers at -1 under par.
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