Weir Rallies to Stay in Contention


2005 Bell Canadian OpenVANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Mike Weir needed 18 holes to really give the home crowd something to cheer about in the first round of the Canadian Open.
The Canadian star was 5 over through 13 holes Thursday before rallying with birdies on four of his last five, including a 38-foot putt on the final hole for a 1-over 71. He was six strokes behind leaders Lucas Glover and Mark Calcavecchia
``It was an awesome feeling,'' Weir said of the load roar at 18. ``(The fans) hung in there with me all day. To make some birdies there coming in, I wanted to hit a good putt on the last hole, that was pretty cool.''
The 2003 Masters champion is hoping to give the fans more to cheer about as he tries to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win the national championship. The little left-hander came close in front of a raucously crowd last year at Glen Abbey outside Toronto, but blew several chances down the stretch and lost to Vijay Singh in a playoff.
For a while it didn't look like he'd get another shot to win this year.
Weir struggled in morning dew that made thick rough play even tougher on the tight, tree-lined Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club course. He was 5 over after six holes with four bogeys, a double bogey and a birdie.
``Sure I got off to an awful start, but a lot of golf will be played and you never know,'' Weir said. ``When you play like that, the opportunity for it to turn around like it did today is there. If you hang your head and sulk, it's not going to happen. You're going to shoot 80.''
Instead, Weir ran off four straight pars to start the back nine. His sizzling finish almost included five straight birdies, but he missed a 9-foot putt on 16.
The difference was hitting fairways, said Weir, who put away his driver on 13 and didn't take it out again until 18.
``Getting it in the fairways and getting in my wheelhouse, which is my wedge game,'' Weir said when asked about his turnaround.
Weir can draw on past success in Vancouver, which is hosting the Canadian Open for the first time since 1966 -- also the last time the event was played outside Ontario or Quebec. He won a Canadian Tour event here in 1997 and claimed his first PGA Tour title two years later in the now-defunct Air Canada Championship.
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