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."