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Eric Risberg, Associated Press
The playing group of Jhonattan Vegas, of Venezuela, and David Toms make their way down the first fairway during the third round of the Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Steve Stricker finished the third round at Kapalua the same way he started — with a five-shot lead.

Only it wasn't that easy.

Stricker watched his lead dwindle to a single shot on the back nine Sunday before running off four straight birdies for a 4-under 69 that gave him a big lead going into the final round at the Tournament of Champions.

He was at 19-under 200, five shots clear of defending champion Jonathan Byrd (67), Martin Laird (67) and Webb Simpson, who also had a 69 while playing in the final group with Stricker.

Simpson and Byrd each had a putt on the back nine to tie for the lead.

Through three rounds, Stricker now is 13-under par on the five closing holes at the Plantation Course.