Weibring Molines Favorite Son


D.A. Weibring is a homeboy. You doubt it? He has won five times on the PGA Tour, and four of them have been in his home state of Illinois.
One of his wins is the Western Open, which he won in 1987. But three of the others came in the same city, Moline, which is only a little more than two hours from his boyhood home of Quincy, Ill. His victories in Moline have all been under different titles ' the Ed McMahon Jaycees Quad Cities Open in 1979, the Hardees Golf Classic in 1991, and the Quad City Classic in 1995.
All were played on the Oakwood Country Club course. And they finally let Weibring ' who went to college at, naturally, Illinois State - design the course where the Moline tournament is now played. Weibring put pen to paper and came up with the TPC at Deere Run, which has been the home of the John Deere Classic since 2000.
His victory in 95 was the silver anniversary of the tournament. The Moline event has had an impressive list of winners ' Deane Beman, Dave Stockton, Scott Hoch, Payne Stewart, David Frost, Mark McCumber, David Toms. Weibrings triumph came in front of his mother and much of the population of Quincy, who had traveled just to see him.
'I get emotional when I think of all the people who are here,' he said. 'You want to be successful anywhere, but it means more when you can share it.'
Weibrings most recent win in 95 may be his most impressive. The tournament was played in late September in brutal conditions ' 30 and 40 degree temperatures, winds, and above all, a steady downpour that reduced play to 54 holes. And yet, Weibring was outstanding with an opening-round 64 ' even though it took two days to accomplish.
Weibring started the first round by ramming home seven birdies in the first 11 holes, despite the cold weather that had everyone playing in sweaters and jackets in a rain that halted play Thursday. He returned Friday and, despite a thermometer that dipped even lower, into the 30s on this day, Weibring completed the round by making seven straight pars.
'I had a couple of players tell me that has to be one of the best rounds of the year,' said Weibring at the time.
'It does make you feel pretty good when you get those looks from other players. Like, What are you doing? and What course did you play?'
Weibring added a 65 in the second round to go with his 64. He would go into the third and final round Sunday with a four-stroke lead on the field.
But he would have to survive a battle to win. Jonathon Kaye, who had recently graduated from the University of Colorado, was the surprise darkhorse.
Weibring played the front side Sunday, carding two birdies and one bogey. But Kaye was sizzling, working on a bogey-free front-nine 30. At the turn, Weibring found himself in a tie for the lead despite his impressive opening round.
The back side was an up-and-down adventure for both players. But Kaye actually took the lead and at the par-4 18th, he still had the advantage.
At the 72nd hole, he striped his 2-iron down the left side, the ball bounding into the rough. Weibring aimed his 3-wood into the fairway.
Kaye managed to put a 6-iron shot into the fringe to the right side of the green. Weibrings approach was close enough to the pin, just 18 feet from the cup, but it wound up in the fringe also.
Kaye went first and rookie nerves forced him into a big mental mistake. His chip went all the way through the green. Now it was Weibrings turn, and though he couldnt clean the mud smeared on his ball, he yanked out his putter, stroked the ball to the high side of the hole, and it dropped in the cup after hanging momentarily on the lip.
'I didnt over-analyze how the mud was going to affect it,' said Weibring. 'I was just going to try and hang it out there. I was surprised it fell, but I knew I did what I was trying to do.'
His birdie-three gave him a one-shot win over Kaye, who had a bogey-five. The Illinois Kid had struck again.