Sunday, June 24, 2018

Weekley shoots 63 at Tampa Bay Championship

PALM HARBOR — Boo Weekley shot 8-under 63 on the Copperhead Course on Sunday to record the lowest round of the Tampa Bay Championship and the second-lowest final-round score in the history of the Innisbrook PGA Tour event.

Weekley's score was two shots off the course record Padraig Harrington set last year. It also took him from tournament afterthought to potential champion.

After starting the final round at par and six shots off the lead, Weekley was atop the leaderboard for much of the afternoon until Kevin Streelman birdied the 13th hole to take over the top spot for good.

"Overall, it was one of the best days I've had in ball striking for a long time," Weekley said.

Weekley finished two shots back of Streelman at 8-under 276. The second-place finish was his highest since he won the Heritage in 2008. Plagued by an injury to his left shoulder since 2009, Weekley has struggled to regain his form and had just three top-10 finishes last year.

He earned his first top 10 of 2013 a week ago, tying for eighth at the Puerto Rico Open.

"I'm just now starting to get comfortable again, healthy again, where I feel like I can actually hit the shots that I see," he said.

Weekley's surge was a surprise given his history at Innisbrook. In six prior appearances on the Copperhead Course, Weekley missed the cut four times. His 63 was four shots better than any of his previous rounds at Innisbrook.

"I think I was more happy that I made the cut here," Weekley said.

"It's been such a long time, and this golf course has given me fits. Finally to make the cut and get myself up into contention felt good."

Spieth earns temporary card: Jordan Spieth, 19, who helped Texas win the 2012 NCAA championship in June and turned pro in December, had to birdie one of his final two holes to finish high enough in the money to receive a temporary PGA Tour membership for the rest of the season.

On 17, Spieth, about 16 yards from the pin, hit a flop shot from the rough into the cup for birdie.

"That was one of the coolest shots I've ever hit," Spieth said. "That was as loud as (the crowd) gets, where the hair on the back of your neck stands up."

Spieth still needed to par 18. His second shot found the sand, but facing a 10-foot putt for par, Spieth calmly stepped over the ball and rolled it straight into the cup for 1-under 70.

"I was nervous over that putt," he said. "Just took it back smooth and found the hole."

Spieth went into the tournament with $373,000 in winnings. For the temporary card, which means he can take unlimited sponsor exemptions, he needed to total more than the player who finished No. 150 on the 2012 money list ($474,295). He finished at 5-under 279 to tie for seventh and earn $148,893.

"If I was $200, short, I would have just asked if I could pay them $200," he said.

Spieth gained an automatic entry into the Tampa Bay Championship by tying for second and earning $308,000 a week earlier at the Puerto Rico Open.

Chip-ins: Cameron Tringale had the second-best final round (66) to place third, his best finish since turning pro in 2009. … Five golfers — Streelman, Weekley, Tringale, defending champion Luke Donald (69) and Webb Simpson (68) — posted bogey-free rounds. … Donald tied for fourth at 6 under. … Rookie Shawn Stefani, who led after the first and second rounds, shot 1-under 70 in the final round and tied for seventh at 5 under, his best finish on the tour.

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