Combining his usual strong ballstriking with efficient putting, Weekley shot a 5-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Stanford St. Jude Championship. He closed with a birdie on No. 18 to move a stroke ahead of Tommy Armour III.
I went around there and hit a lot of putts Saturday and Sunday , Weekley said. Being able to go and practice by yourself on a golf cart makes it a lot easier. Youre not as tired, and you can work a little bit more out there.
Armour, who shot a 66, had been tied with Weekley at 5 under. But Armour bogeyed his 16th hole about the same time Weekley finished up with his birdie to take the lead to himself in the last tuneup for the U.S. Open.
Vijay Singh survived an afternoon roller-coaster featuring two bogeys, a double bogey, an eagle and five birdies for a 67. Sergio Garcia, The Players Championship winner last month, and Davis Love III were among a group of seven at 68.
Jeff Overton had the lead to himself at 6 under with six birdies through 11 holes. But the Indiana native fell apart with two bogeys over his next three holes and then a double bogey on No. 15 after hitting his second shot way left of the green and failing to roll in a 2-footer. He wound up back at par with a 70.
Kenny Perry, coming off a victory Sunday in the Memorial, is hoping to win consecutive tournaments just as he did back in 2005. He started strong enough with a 32 on his first nine holes, the back nine. But he had four bogeys on the front nine to join defending champ Woody Austin at 71.
Weekley, the Hilton Head winner in April, has had some success at this tournament before. He closed with a 63 in 2002 and tied for 19th before slipping off the PGA TOUR and onto the Nationwide circuit. But he missed the cut last year in his first year back on tour.
The Florida native said he likes Memphis and decided to return back to the South instead of sticking around at Muirfield Village after missing the cut. He played nine holes Saturday and 18 on Sunday, using a cart to allow him more time to work on the course.
Just being able to come out and play early might not be an advantage but (at) least gives up a little bit of a head start on whats going to happen the rest of the week. And I think I took that to my advantage today, and the wind has been blowing the same since Saturday as it is today, Weekley said.
The Memphis area was under a wind advisory Thursday with gusts up to 32 mph. Weekley had a slight advantage starting in the seventh group off the tee, and he hit the ball low. But he saw the strength of the wind on the par-4 17th.
I literally started it 40 yards left of where my ball ended up. I try to hit a little draw, but it wont hold into that wind, he said. Just push it all the way across the fairway.
Armour said everyone should be used to windy conditions.
Weve had a lot of practice in wind this year. I think a calm day would throw everybody off a little bit, Armour said.
Weekley needed 28 putts and got started by rolling in a 20-footer on No. 1.
Pretty good putt. Good thing the hole got in the way, he said.
His lone bogey came on the par-3 fourth, where he hit into a bunker and misread a par putt from 6 feet. Weekley hit an 8-iron to 11 feet to start the back nine and made the birdie putt. He followed with a 9-iron to 4 feet on No. 12, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th after hitting a 3-iron onto the front of the green and had a 12-footer on No. 18.
Armour had a nice round going himself until the par-3 eight when he missed the green and two-putted for his lone bogey.
I was happy, he said.
Michael Allen was disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard after an 81. Kent Jones withdrew after shooting an 81. John Daly, playing on a sponsors exemption, opened with a 72. Masters champ Trevor Immelman shot a 74, while defending British Open champ Padraig Harrington a 71. Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Championship winner, will be having surgery on his left shoulder after competing here. He opened with a 74.