Weekley in good shape but faces tough task on Sunday

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Boo Weekley feels comfortable at Harbour Town -- he's won the RBC Heritage twice.
April 14, 2012
Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- As Thomas Brent Weekley made his way toward the putting green on the 18th hole Saturday at Harbour Town Golf Links, fans surrounding the picturesque par-4 let out a loud "Booooooooo!"


They weren't booing, just calling Weekley by his more well-known name.

"Boo Weekley, we love you!" one fan shouted after the crowd had quieted down.

There's little doubt that Weekley feels the same about them, especially here.

"I love this atmosphere," Weekley said after a 1-under 70 that leaves him five strokes behind leader Carl Pettersson going into Sunday's final round. "It's one of the places I feel like at home."

It also happens to be the last -- and only -- place Weekley has won, when he followed up his chip-in, chip-in finish in 2007 with a slightly less dramatic victory at Harbour Town the following season.

The last few years, however, Weekley's play was more boo-worthy than Boo-worthy.

He tore his labrum in 2009 and struggled with the recovery, finishing 111th on the money list in 2010 and 180th in 2011, losing his card in the process.

He missed the cut at THE PLAYERS Championship and his longtime caddie Jo Jo Pyland dumped him.

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"I don't blame him," Weekley said. "I was struggling, making no money and he has a kid to feed. Right then and there I knew I needed to change something in my game, my attitude, the whole nine yards."

Weekley went to q-school last December but missed out on a card when he tied for 54th, meaning he was forced to play this season on past champion status.

Now finally healthy, there have been signs of progress.

Weekley hired caddie John Connelly, who had previously been on Alexandre Rocha's bag and is a longtime friend of Weekley's agent, Jimmy Johnston. He also hired a new coach, Scott Hamilton, to help him rediscover the swing that made Weekley one of the best ball-strikers in the game.

"I lost confidence and didn't focus on what my goals were," said Weekley, who tied for 14th in Houston two weeks ago and third in Puerto Rico last month. "I just got lazy. I didn't work at it because I was hurt. Now that I am healthy I can pound the golf balls and do all the things I need to do."

It won't be easy.

Weekley trails Pettersson -- who at one point rattled off five straight birdies Saturday en route to a 66 -- by five, and Colt Knost and Zach Johnson by four and three shots, respectively.

Not that any of them will have it any easier.

"There's been a history of shooting low coming from behind," Pettersson said.

Just last year, Brandt Snedeker carded a Sunday 64 to tie Luke Donald then beat him in a playoff.

Weekley isn't the only one trying to exorcise some demons, either.

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Three years ago, Colt Knost, who once famously passed on playing in the Masters as an amateur to turn pro because he figured he'd be back, was leading going into the final round in Houston when he shot an 81 to tumble off the leaderboard.

Saturday, it looked like Knost might have a similar collapse.

Leading at the start of the day, he bogeyed the first hole when he sent his tee shot sailing into the trees. He eagled the par-5 second but bogeyed the next hole.

This time, however, Knost recovered and shot 69. He's also been impressive on the difficult back nine, playing it in a collective 6 under without a single bogey this week.

Still, Knost knows there's a long way to go to get his first career victory, which would, among other things, guarantee him a spot in the field at next year's Masters.

"There's a lot on the line tomorrow," Knost said.

For Weekley, too.

"I worked a little more than I normally do in the winter time, just to get myself back to where I felt like I can compete again," he said. "It would be fun to make it three."

If he does, there will be plenty of "Boos" on Sunday.