Stricker Still Leads in Hawaii January 09 2012

Steve Stricker still leads the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after the third round, still five shots clear of the field.  Webb Simpson, Martin Laird and defending champ Jonathan Byrd are still in the hunt but it would appear only some serious mistakes by Steve would intervene in him picking up the trophy. Jonathan Byrd is still full of optimism saying, “He’s a tough guy to catch,” but I don’t think any lead is too much.” stricker-action-getty Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images Steve remarked after his round, “I knew it was going to be tough, I mean, it always is. When you’re leading the golf tournament it’s just hard to keep that momentum. I had such a good day yesterday that when you’re not making birdies you feel like you’re letting things slip away, and that’s what I was feeling like, I felt like everybody was coming after me and I was kind of coming back to the pack." "It was a struggle today, not a lot of good things happened, but I stayed patient, I really did, even though I wasn’t making any birdies and it felt like everybody else was. I just stayed patient and after my chip shot at 16 it felt like things were going to kind of turn my way and it did. So it was a good finish and it has put me in a good position.” “Fortunately we had a good finish, but we have one more day, it’s not over yet, and I have to go out and play good tomorrow.” It will be a good contest tomorrow with Steve and Jonathan in the last pairing for the last round, Steve will be able to keep a close watch on defending champion Jonathan Byrd. Both players really like the Kapalua Plantation course. Jonathan said, “Fortunately this is my fifth year here so I feel like I’ve got a good feel for the golf course and how to play it and how to prepare for it. It’s hard to putt on this golf course, there’s just so much break, and the grain, and the mountains, and the ocean. I think just being able to judge the greens and the distance has been the key, but you have to keep coming back to figure this golf course out.” While Steve thoughts were, “I think just playing it so many times understanding the little things about this course, and there are a lot of little things. The greens are pretty severe, you have to know where to miss it, know where to hit it, it’s a tough course and there’s a lot of trickery to it and I guess I’ve become comfortable with it because I play here so much.”