By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Behind that aw-shucks demeanor and country charm, Boo Weekley has always been one of the PGA TOUR's better ball-strikers.
When Weekley is healthy and putting well like he's been of late, the combination can be lethal. He finished second at the Tampa Bay Championship in March and made a run at his third PGA TOUR title last week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Weekley picked up where he left off at Quail Hollow on Thursday, too, shooting a round of 68 that left him one shot off the lead. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 greens in regulation, while using 30 putts.
"It was good," Weekley said. "I mean, I'm hitting the ball really well right now and making some putts. I felt like a left a lot of putts out there too. I hit it pretty close on a couple holes. ... I missed four putts inside of seven feet that I felt like I had a pretty good line on, I just didn't have any speed for them."
Weekley, whose best finish in Charlotte is a tie for 11th in 2009, said his game is predicated on confidence in his putter. He made five birdies and dropped just one shot to par on a damp day when Quail Hollow was playing longer than its advertised 7,492 yards.
"You're having to hit hybrids, 4-irons and 5-irons where normally we hit 7-irons or 6-irons," Weekley said. "It's playing long."
Weekley called his round "steady" and said he played "decent" golf. He set the tone on the 10th hole, his first of the day, when he wedged to 23 inches for a tap-in birdie. His lone bogey came at the 12th hole when he couldn't get up and down from the bunker but birdie putts of 4, 24, 22 and 33 feet followed.
"I'm starting to make putts," Weekley said. "I'm starting to see the lines a little better. My speed's gotten a lot better with my putter. I've been working pretty hard at it and finally it's starting to click."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson, who has finished 12th or better seven times in nine appearances at Quail Hollow, is one shot off Boo Weekley's lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Weekley, who tied for sixth last week in New Orleans, is 4 under through 15 holes while Mickelson has played 12. Also at 3 under are Charlotte resident Robert Karlsson, Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Jordan Spieth and Derek Ernst.
Mickelson's best finish at Quail Hollow is second in 2010. He had his eye on the big silver trophy that Sunday until Rory McIlroy closed with a 62 and ended up winning by four.
By Brian Allee-Walsh, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. -- Boo Weekley is well on his way to making his 10th consecutive cut -- and maybe more -- after posting a 7-under 65 Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.
Weekley's bogey-free round featured five birdies, one eagle ... and a bothersome sinus drip.
"I got that sinus stuff from last week at Hilton Head," Weekley said. "It was the worst I'd ever seen it around there. It looked like somebody had a mustard cloud over the whole golf course and it landed on a bunch of us.
"Other than that, the golf swing is pretty good right now."
After missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii to start the season, Weekley has placed in the money ever since, highlighted by a second-place finish at the Tampa Bay Championship. He has pocketed $849,730 and hopes to eclipse the $1 million mark in New Orleans.
"It could have got real good out there today if some of them putts would have fell early in the round," said Weekley, who drained a 27-foot birdie putt on the 569-yard, par-5 finishing hole. "I left at least four shots out there on the front side, that were good birdie putts. I had good looks in the 10-foot range on 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7."
Lucas Glover also shot 65 in the afternoon to join Weekley in second place, one shot behind first-round leader Ricky Barnes, who tied the course record in the morning with an 8-under 64.
"Any time you can climb up the leader-board in the afternoon, it feels pretty good," said Glover. "I hit it like I've been hitting it and finally putted well. I made the short ones, and it was good."
Boo Weekley carded a 2-under 70 in the first round of the Shell Houston Open on Thursday. Here he reacts to a shot on the eighth hole at Redstone, where he made a birdie 4.
Think you can write a caption for this photo? Give it a shot. And as always, please keep it clean!
Boo Weekley carded an 8-under 63 on Sunday at Innisbrook. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla. – So much for the fishing excursion.
Boo Weekley had planned to get an early jump on the drive to Orlando after Sunday’s final round at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, hoping to throw a line into some of the ponds at Bay Hill.
Instead, he faced a three-hour wait around Innisbrook – courtesy of the 8-under-par 63 that put him in line for a potential playoff.
“It’s all right,” Weekley said with a shrug. “I’ll wait.”
The homespun Floridian relaxed with some pizza after posting his lowest round since the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. That was before injuries ganged up to spoil not only his golf swing, but his bow hunting.
But this weekend has shown glimpses of the Weekley that won back-to-back at Hilton Head and helped the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory. He played his final 30 holes without a bogey, pouring in eight birdies on Sunday.
Each of his final two birdies, at Nos. 15 and 16, came after crisp irons that stopped less than 2 feet from the flagstick.
“It was impressive. Even I’m still kind of shocked at how well I really hit it,” Weekley said. “It was one of the best ballstriking days I’ve had in a long time. I had three or four tap-ins today.”
Sunday’s performance also came at a course that has bedeviled Weekley for years. Even though Innisbrook has the same type of tree-lined fairways as courses he grew up on in the Florida Panhandle, he’d missed the cut in four of his past five appearances.
His best finish on the Copperhead was his first, a tie for 22nd back in 2002.
“I think I was more happy when I made the cut here (Friday), to tell you the truth,” Weekley said. “It’s been such a long time. This course has given me fits. Now that I’d made the cut and could actually get myself up in contention, it felt good.”
After extra work with coach Scott Hamilton this week to get a better read on the Copperhead’s hard undulations, Weekley started seeing a payoff.
“We started adding a little more break to what I’m normally seeing,” he said. “Then when I started seeing a little more break, I started seeing the putts fall.
“When you haven’t been out there in so long, you get nervous. It feels great now – it’s over with.”
The wait, though, was only beginning.
Boo Weekley charged up the leaderboard with birdies on four of his first 10 holes, including this birdie on the 10th hole at Copperhead.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Little things can sometimes make a big difference.
For Boo Weekley, learning how to breathe properly and taking a little pressure off his right hand while putting did just that Thursday.
After opening with back-to-back bogeys, Weekley rattled off five birdies in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round en route to a 66 that leaves him near the top of the leaderboard at The Honda Classic.
"It's kind of like when I'm shooting my guns long range, I have to take a deep breath and blow it out and then pull the trigger," said Weekley, who matched his lowest round since a 65 in Las Vegas 18 months ago.
Taking the pressure off his right hand during the putting stroke has also taken some pressure off Weekley. Thursday, he had 27 putts, which included going 13-for-13 on putts inside 10 feet and making five more outside that range.
Weekley has come from a lot longer than that, however.
A year ago, Weekley played mostly on sponsor exemptions after finishing the 2011 season 180th on the money list. He's also battled a myriad of injuries in recent years, including shoulder problems.
"It's tough when you have to write letters," he said. "Thank the good Lord that I have been friendly enough, and been an outgoing guy to a lot of these tournaments. I've done about everything they have asked me to do."
Weekley took advantage of the opportunity and got his card back after finishing 108th in money last year.
"It's just part of golf," Weekley said of hs struggles. "My confidence is getting there. My swing is starting to come around. I'm actually healthy. I feel good."