PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Boo is back, and that means stretches of brilliant golf and endless sound bites.
On Sunday at Innisbrook, Weekley was again in full flight, stuffing approaches, yukking it up in the fairways and finding himself in contention. Six shots off the lead to begin the final round, Weekley shot a bogey-free, 8-under 63 that gave him the clubhouse lead here at the Tampa Bay Championship.
If the third round was any indication – the Copperhead Course became diabolical in the afternoon sun and wind – Weekley’s 8-under 276 might have been good enough to win.
“I’m even still kinda shocked how good I hit it,” he said. “Overall it’s one of the best days ball-striking I’ve had in a long time.”
As it turned out, Weekley came up just short, finishing in solo second place, two strokes behind winner Kevin Streelman.
Plagued by a left-shoulder injury for the past few seasons – most troubling, he couldn’t even pull back his bow – Weekley says he’s healthy and playing his best golf in years. He also credits his recent work with instructor Scott Hamilton, who has Weekley “hitting shots I see” again.
Golf is fun, finally, and he and new caddie Barry Williams (who was Blake Adams’ looper before Adams got hurt) are “jiving’” and singing songs up and down the fairway.
His success here was a bit unexpected, despite his ball-striking prowess. Weekley had missed the cut in four of his past five appearances, with a best finish of T-22 in 2002. “This course has given me fits,” he said.
In fact, entering the final round, Weekley entertained only the thought of shooting a 4-under round, cashing a nice check and then heading early to Orlando to go fishing.
In benign conditions during the final round, Weekley made three consecutive birdies around the turn, then ran off three more on Nos. 14-16 when he didn’t face a birdie putt longer than 2 feet. On the day he missed only three greens and three fairways.
When Weekley finished his round, Streelman was only midway through his opening nine. There were nine players within two shots of the lead. It looked to be an anxious time for Weekley, who figured that he hadn’t been in this wait-and-see position since his mini-tour days in ’06.
When asked what he was going to do for the next three hours, Weekley smiled and said, “I have no clue.”
Then he paused.
“Why?” he asked. “Are you asking me on a date?”