Justin Leonard stormed to the top of the leaderboard on the third day of the Tampa Bay Championship as early tournament pacesetter Shawn Stefani suffered a nightmare start to his weekend.
PGA Tour rookie Stefani had led after both the opening two days with rounds of 65 and 70 and he boasted a one-shot advantage over the chasing pack at seven under coming into the third round.
However, the 31-year-old quickly slumped back to three under for the tournament after dropping four shots on the front nine, carding bogeys at the first, fourth, fifth and eighth.
That left him tied for 17th place and four shots adrift of new leader Leonard, the 1997 Open champion playing his opening 12 holes in five under.
The 40-year-old American was a shot clear of compatriot Kevin Streelman and two above his former Ryder Cup team-mate Jim Furyk.
Streelman finished with an impressive blemish-free round of 65, while Furyk was also back in the clubhouse after carding a four-under-par 67.
England’s Luke Donald, the defending champion, was the leading European on four under after also recording a 67, while Australia’s Adam Scott and South Korean KJ Choi – who were joint second at the start of play – were struggling along with Stefani after both found themselves two over after eight in their third rounds.
• Jee Young Lee produced an eight-under-par 64 to lead by one stroke at 15 under at the midway point of the Founders Cup in Phoenix.
The South Korean’s blemish-free round, which featured eight birdies including three in her last four holes, put her one clear of overnight leader Ai Miyazato, five under yesterday, with Stacy Lewis on 11 under the only other player within five strokes.