Stricker takes 5 shot lead into final round in Hawaii

Beginning the third round at the PGA Tour's opening event with a five shot lead, Steve Stricker saw Webb Simpson close that gap throughout the round.

However, Stricker had a late charge in the tank for himself to end with a five stroke lead heading into a rare Monday finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Opening the event up with rounds of 68 and 63, Stricker ended the day with a nice birdie charge on holes 15, 16, 17 and 18, to end his third round with a four-under 69, to take a five shot lead into the final round.

Two players, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Laird made hard charges to close the gap on Stricker early in the round, both carding rounds of 67.

However, they would end up five strokes behind the leader.

Playing along side Stricker, Webb Simpson cut the lead down to one after keeping a clean card in round three. Birdying No. 5, 8, 10 and 12 before conceding a bogey on the par-four 16th to fall behind three strokes to Stricker.

The second year player just missed jarring an eagle putt on No. 18 to cut Stricker's lead to four shots. Simpson would settle for par and ended his round where he began -- Five strokes behind Stricker.

"Just keep playing golf. I knew the last few holes were birdiable. I knew Stricks was going to finish well, and he did." Simpson said after his round was through.

"Unfortunately I'm a few more back than I wanted to be. But, overall I had another solid day and see if I can get that low round to come out tomorrow."

Stricker would have an eagle opportunity himself on No. 18, coming up just short of the green.

Electing to putt from just off the green. He would miss the eagle chance, tapping in for his fourth birdie in a row.

"It was a struggle out there today. I stayed patient and waited for things to turn my way, and it did starting with the hole out on No. 15." Said Stricker after his third round in Hawaii.

"I felt like everyone was coming after me and I was coming back to the pack. Fortunately I had a good finish. But we still have one more day and tomorrow is another day. It was a tough day today."

Stricker began the day and ended the day with a five shot lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

With a Monday finish, we'll have to wait to see in Prime Time on Monday night to see if Stricker can close out the tournament and claim the first victory of the 2012 PGA Tour Season.

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