Weekley Misses Chance To Win Suspended Honda Classic
Monday, March 5th 2007, 7:21 am
News On 6
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) _ Only 3 feet separated Boo Weekley from everything he's spent the last decade chasing. A PGA Tour victory, the big winner's check, a two-year exemption, all of them a mere short putt away.
He pulled his putter back in the fading light on the 72nd hole of the Honda Classic, struck the ball and waited for the cheers to rain down.
They never came.
And he had to wait until Monday morning to get a shot at redeeming himself.
Courtesy of Weekley's miss on the final hole of regulation, he, Camilo Villegas, Mark Wilson and Jose Coceres _ who all finished at 5-under 275 _ went into a four-man playoff Sunday night, one that they couldn't finish before darkness fell on PGA National.
``I was shaking,'' Weekley said. ``I ain't going to lie about it. I mean, I was shaking like a leaf. ... I made a good stroke. I just hit it way too hard.''
Play was scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Monday, with the foursome on the par-4 10th hole.
With a 15-footer on the tournament's 71st hole, the par-3 17th, Weekley took the lead and only needed a par at the last to get that win and the money. He reached the 18th green in three shots, tipping his cap as he walked up to acknowledge the long, loud serenade of ``Boo.''
The gallery made a much different sound moments later, when his putt slid past the left edge.
``You've got to feel for Boo,'' Villegas said. ``But it's golf. Those things happen.''
Each player made par at the par-5 18th, the first playoff hole. Wilson's was spectacular, coming after he drove his tee shot into the mud and scrambling to the green before making a 30-foot putt to keep him in contention.
Wilson, 0-for-110 in tour events, also made a 45-footer to save par at the 16th hole _ which, obviously, kept his hopes afloat.
And Coceres _ who lost a playoff to Fred Funk in Mexico at last week's tour stop, the Mayakoba Golf Classic _ had a birdie try that would have ended the tournament hit the lip and roll away.
``I'm old. I'm 43,'' said Coceres, who is 1-1 in playoffs on tour, and is the only member of the final foursome here to go to extra holes in a tour event. ``I couldn't see.''
Weekley then made a 3-footer to earn his trip to the second playoff hole, and Villegas followed with a tap-in from about 2 feet _ the final shot before play was suspended.
``We had no chance of playing any more holes,'' Villegas said. ``It was real dark.''
Villegas and Coceres closed with 4-under 66s, while Weekley and Wilson shot 71s. Tripp Isenhour (67), Robert Allenby (68) and Steve Stricker (69) followed at 4 under, and Brett Wetterich and Daniel Chopra (71) were another shot back.
The leaderboard was tight at the start of the round, and only got more congested during the afternoon.
Coceres began his day with five straight birdies; he'd had five in his previous 41 holes entering Sunday, yet was simply sizzling early and got within one shot of Wilson. Allenby, the field's best player on the front side all week, went out in 31 and got to 6 under before fading with a 2-over 37 on the back side, and Isenhour got into the mix with three straight birdies on Nos. 2-4.
Villegas wound up getting to the crucial 5-under mark with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 _ the final two holes of PGA National's famed ``Bear Trap,'' named in honor of course redesigner Jack Nicklaus.
``I've never been in a four-man playoff,'' Villegas said. ``But you know what? I can only control my game. I can only control what I can do. And when I come back tomorrow morning, I'll be feeling great.''
Isenhour _ who made a costly bogey at the 15th hole, the first of the three-hole stretch named in Nicklaus' honor _ nearly joined the final logjam at 5 under, but his birdie putt at the final hole slid just past the right edge.
``I kept giving myself chances,'' Isenhour said. ``I got 'Bear Trapped.'''
It's the sixth time the Honda has gone to a playoff; most recently, Padraig Harrington beat Vijay Singh and Joe Ogilvie at Mirasol on the second extra hole in 2005. It's also the tour's first four-man playoff since the 2004 Reno-Tahoe Open, and the first unscheduled Monday finish since the 2005 PGA Championship.
``If it's my time to win,'' Weekley said, ``then I'll win.''