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Originally published Friday, March 15, 2013 at 7:15 PM

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Adam Scott finds short way to join the leaders

Australian one stroke out of Tampa Bay lead after bogey-free round

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Adam Scott had a breakthrough with his short game this winter, and it's so good now he hardly even has to use it.

Scott had a putt for birdie on 16 holes in a second round that was without a bogey and without much stress. He wound up with a 5-under 66 that left him one shot behind rookie Shawn Stefani at the Tampa Bay Championship.

Stefani had to scramble more than he would have preferred, though he converted all the putts he felt he was supposed to make in his round of 70. Stefani was at 7-under 135, one shot ahead of Scott and past champion K.J. Choi, who had a 67.

Scott hasn't shown too many scars from making bogeys on the last four holes to lose the British Open last summer. He finished the year by winning the Australian Masters, though it was a month later when he was working on his game at home on the Gold Coast that he experienced a significant turnaround with his short game.

"Just had a really nice feeling going that day, whatever it was, and I managed to get through the whole shag bag of balls hitting every chip the same," he said. "Everything was very controlled and consistent. ... I've felt my confidence grow on the course with the pitching and chipping."

He closed with a 68-64 on the weekend at Doral, and carried that to a tougher course at Innisbrook.

Meanwhile, Stefani's confidence is growing. He finally made his first bogey of the tournament on the seventh hole, and then rebounded with a 5-iron to 10 feet for birdie on the par-3 eighth.

"Today was a little bit more of a struggle," Stefani said. "Didn't really drive it super great. Didn't hit some of the best iron shots. But I scrambled well and I putted really great. When you putt good, that usually keeps rounds going, and that's pretty much what happened today."

John Daly registered his 15th score of 10 or higher on a hole in his PGA Tour career when he twice tried to get out of the trees, took two penalty drops and made what he called a "beautiful chip" to get up-and-down from 30 yards on the par-4 third hole for a 10.

Two former Huskies made the cut. Troy Kelly had a 70 for a 142 total and is tied for 31st. Richard H. Lee had a 72 for a 144 and is tied for 62nd.

Couples' 64

a stroke off pace

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Seattle native Fred Couples fired a 7-under 64, but it was good enough just for second place at the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic.

David Frost shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round. Frost had eight birdies in his bogey-free round. Three of his approach shots stopped within a foot of the hole for tap-in birdies.

Couples, the 2010 winner at Newport Beach Country Club, had seven birdies and a bogey. He's playing his second senior event and third overall tournament of the year after cutting his schedule to make sure he's healthy for the Masters. He made six putts from 15 feet or longer, including a 50-footer for birdie on No. 7.

Pullman High graduate Kirk Triplett had a 71 and is tied for 36th.

OTHER TOURNAMENTS

Jee Young Lee birdied three of the last four holes to take a one-stroke lead over Ai Miyazato at the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix. Lee had a bogey-free 8-under 64 to reach 15-under 129 and break the tournament 36-hole record. Jimin Kang, a graduate of Shoreline High, had a 69 for a 137 total and is tied for 15th. Paige Mackenzie, a former Husky, had a 70 for a 140 and is tied for 38th.

Chapchai Nirat and Liang Wenchong each shot a 6-under 66 to tie for the lead at 12-under 132 after the second round of the Avantha Masters at Greater Noida, India.

Scott Strange took a one-stroke lead at the Thailand Open in Bangkok after a 7-under 65 in the second round, which was suspended by darkness. Strange had eight brides and one bogey at Thana City Golf & Sports Club for a 131 total.

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