March 17 2013
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.