Thursday, March 14

Shawn Stefani Leads in Chilly Tampa Bay

THEY'RE WEARING SWEATERS IN PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA. Right now, with the first round of the Tampa Bay Championship nearly complete, the temperature is in the mid 50s. It's supposed to warm up on the weekend.

Shawn Stefani opened with a 65.
Lamar University product Shawn Stefani is the first-round leader after firing a 6-under 65 on the challenging Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort. Brian Harmon, in with a 67, trails by two. Three more players are another shot back.

Stefani turned pro in 2005 and won twice last year on the Web.com Tour. Now the Texas native is trying to make it on the PGA Tour. Stefani has made three cuts in six starts this season. His best finish was a T39 at last week's Puerto Rico Open, where his 10-under total included a 65 in the second round. He has collected a little more than $35,000 in earnings this season.

According to the bio at his website, Stefani is a passionate deer hunter. Hunting in Iowa is on his bucket list. He also would like to skydive and drive a NASCAR race car.

Who would fill out Stefani's dream foursome? Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones.

Tomorrow Stefani will be teeing it up with Brad Fritsch and Andy Pope. After a 65, he should make the cut and be playing on the weekend. Better yet, maybe the deer hunter can set his sights on his best finish on the PGA Tour.

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