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Sipula Holds Lead at PGA Stroke Play

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Tom Sipula of River Vale, N.J., and Ed Sabo of Tequesta, Fla., were nearly stroke-for-stroke Wednesday as they remained one-two after three rounds of the 50th annual PGA Stroke Play Championship at the PGA Golf Club.
 
After Sipula birdied the first hole and Sabo the second, they matched pars on Nos. 3, 4 and 5, both birdied the par-5 sixth hole and then they went par-for-par on the next 11 holes before Sipula birdied the 18th from 10 feet for 69 to Sabo's 70.
 
At the end of the day on the North course, Sipula, 32, an assistant professional at Edgewood Country Club, led Sabo, 53, a teaching professional at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, by four strokes heading into the final round, 205 to 209.
 
'I hit a lot more 2-irons off the tee today than I have been,' Sipula said. 'When it's windy like it was today and the fairways are as hard as they are here, I prefer to keep the ball low and let it run.'
 
'And over the weekend, I got a tip from one of my fellow professionals from New Jersey that has helped my wedge game.' Len Siter, head professional at Mountain Ridge Country Club in Cranford, got Sipula more shallow in the takeaway on his wedge shots.
 
Earlier in the day, Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn., moved ahead among the three women who survived the 36-hole cut. The head professional at Blue Fox Run Golf Club in Avon, Conn., shot 74 for 228, making a birdie and two bogeys on each nine.
 
Whaley, 36, is the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event, the Greater Hartford Open July 24-27. She earned the exemption by winning the Connecticut PGA Section Championship in September.
 
Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah, moved into third in the men's division with 70-211, followed by Ron Faria of Hempstead, N.Y., at 72-212.
 
The winner Thursday earned $5,185 from the $89,000 purse.
 
PGA Stroke Play Championship
PGA GC, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
North course, 6,887 yards (men), 5,799 yards (women); par 72
 
205 - Tom Sipula, River Vale, N.J., 67-69-69.
 
209 - Ed Sabo, Tequesta, 68-71-70.
 
211 - Steve Schneiter, Sandy, Utah, 74-67-70.
 
212 - Ron Faria, Hempstead, N.Y., 71-69-72.
 
213 - Mike Zinni, Mankato, Minn., 75-70-68. John Hickson, West Brook, Maine, 74-71-68. Bob Ralston, Little Rock, Ark., 74-70-69.
 
215 - Frank Dobbs, Port St. Lucie, 72-74-69. Brian Gaffney, Westfield, N.J., 72-74-69.
 
216 - Terry Hatch, Pottsville, Pa., 75-71-70. Mike Tucker, St. Louis, Mo., 74-71-71. Kirk Hanefeld, Westford, Mass., 74-71-71. Steve Mulcahy, Lima, Ohio, 73-71-72. Lonnie Nielsen, East Aurora, N.Y., 69-75-72. Rob Labritz, Fairfield, Conn., 74-68-74.
 
217 - Bruce Zabriski, Jupiter, 74-75-68. Jim Booros, Allentown, Pa., 74-72-71. Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, 76-69-72. Jerry Tucker, Stuart, 72-73-72. Jerry Impellittiere, New Windsor, N.Y., 72-72-73. Frank Bensel, Purchase, N.Y., 71-70-76.