Scary Good Finish Weekley Saves Heritage Win

By Associated PressApril 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Augusta National, get ready for Boo Weekley.
 
Perhaps no one fits the mold of the staid, in-control PGA TOUR pro less than Weekley, the 33-year-old country boy from the Florida Panhandle. He punctuates answers with 'reckon' and 'ain't,' and one time, in Texas, got so angry with his play, he put a hole in his golf bag with a club.
 
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley's short game helped him save his first PGA TOUR win. (WireImage)
Now, after his first PGA TOUR victory at the Verizon Heritage on Monday, Weekley's got a spot in next year's Masters.
 
'I don't think the plaid's going to fit me,' said Weekley, picking at his tartan winner's coat. 'I'd like to have a green one to go along with.'
 
Weekley got that chance -- and made up for his heartbreaking loss at the Honda Classic last month -- with a pair of dramatic, par-saving chips on the 17th and 18th holes to defeat Ernie Els.
 
'Right now, it feels good,' he said. 'It ain't all sunk in yet.'
 
Along with $972,000 and a PGA TOUR exemption through 2008, Weekley becomes the first PGA TOUR winner to qualify for next year's Masters after Augusta National chairman Billy Payne restored a privilege taken away in 1999.
 
Weekley had gained the sympathy of golfers everywhere last month when he missed a 3-footer on the 72nd hole of the Honda Classic that would've given him the outright win. Instead, the 33-year-old Weekley fell into a four-man playoff eventually won by Mark Wilson.
 
Weekley got it done this time.
 
He nearly squandered a three-shot lead at Harbour Town Golf Links before his heart-stopping finish.
 
Weekley made bogey on the 16th, then muffed a chip behind the 17th green. He followed the blunder with a 40-foot, par-saving chip to keep a one-stroke lead.
 
But then Weekley had his troubles on Harbour Town's lighthouse hole, No. 18. He chipped across the green and into the fluffy rough down a short slope. Once again, Weekley's short game saved him, this time rolling it from 36 feet away.
 
Weekley never thought about his Honda gaffe from last month, confident his time in the spotlight would come.
 
When his first chip fell, Weekley thought 'this could be my day.' He knew it about 15 minutes later when he repeated the feat to close out the win.
 
'Unreal,' Weekley said. 'This is unreal.'
 
The Big Easy, bidding for his first TOUR win since 2004, lost his chance on No. 17, driving into the hazard behind the green for a bogey. Els made things interesting, though, putting his second shot -- and last opportunity to tie -- at the 18th inside 2 feet.
 
'I don't think I want to see this replay,' Els said, smiling.
 
Weekley finished with a 68 and was one in front of Els (70 ) and two ahead of Stephen Leaney (68). Masters champion Zach Johnson continued his inspired play a week after slipping on the green jacket with a 71 to finish sixth.
 
Difficulties with the weather Sunday forced the tournament to finish Monday for the first time since Jose Coceres defeated Billy Mayfair in a 2001 playoff.
 
The Verizon Heritage probably has never had a champion like Weekley, whose nickname comes from Yogi Bear's sidekick, Boo Boo. Weekley played golf for a year or so at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., until it did away with the golf program 'for bullriding or something like that.'
 
When asked about being allergic to cotton products, Weekley compared it to ringworm, where 'little pus pockets pop up on your skin there.'
 
He didn't mind the Sunday delay until Monday because he had stayed up too late Saturday playing cards. Weekley's preparation for the final round last night? 'Ate about a handful of jelly beans and called it quits,' he said.
 
Els had opened the tournament with two 65s and appeared ready to pick up his first TOUR victory since 2004. Still, it's his seventh top-10 finish here in nine visits to Harbour Town.
 
Jerry Kelly, who used a hole-in-one Saturday to take the third-round lead, was still two shots in front at 15 under after an eagle on the par-5 second. His chance to end a nearly five-year-old victory drought slipped away when he drove into the water on No. 10. He finished with a 77.
 
Winds, though not as fierce as Sunday, continued to whip off Calibogue Sound, tilting flagsticks on Harbour Town's three closing holes when play resumed at 8 a.m.
 
PGA TOUR tournament director Slugger White stood off to the side on No. 16 early Monday, hands in pockets, monitoring for the severe gusts that moved resting golf balls off greens a day earlier.
 
The sand from a bunker along the left side of No. 16, blown back in the bunker overnight, again covered part of the fairway.
 
After hitting an approach to the 16th, Glen Day skipped up the fairway, singing, 'We're having a heat wave.' A group ahead, D.J. Trahan had a black knit winter cap pulled down over his ears.
 
When Trahan's trio hit into the Harbour Town's famous lighthouse hole, No. 18, their shots at the flag were carried several yards off the green and closer to the near empty grandstands than the cup.
 
Not everyone had trouble with that windy stretch: Ryan Armour went birdie-birdie-birdie through Nos. 16-18.
 
Weekley had his troubles with the conditions, too, just less than his competitors. Now that he's a PGA TOUR champion, Weekley expects to be the same fun-loving golfer who's spent the past four seasons on the Nationwide Tour.
 
'I ain't going to change,' he said, grinning. 'I ain't got no reason to.'
 
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.