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May 26, 2013

Weekley wins Colonial, 1st PGA Tour win in 5 years

FORT WORTH, Texas — Boo Weekley was at the 13th hole during the final round of the Colonial before he finally glanced at a leaderboard — and saw his name on the top.

It was at that par 3 surrounded by an often rowdy crowd that he also heard the loudest “Boo!” in quite some time.

Weekley hit his birdie putt from about 22 feet, then swiped his putter in the air as if guiding the ball into the cup. He thrust the club above his head when the ball dropped to get him to 14 under, where he finished Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory in five years.

“That's when I realized, 'Wow, here I go.' I need to do something, either hold on to it or try to make a couple of more birdies,” Weekley said. “I knew I was hitting the ball too well just to hold on.”

With five consecutive pars after that, Weekly finished at 14-under 266 for a one-stroke victory over Matt Kuchar, the second- and third-round leader who had a closing 68.

Defending Colonial champion Zach Johnson, who also won at Hogan's Alley in 2010, shot 66 to finish third at 12 under for his first top-10 finish this season.

Both of Weekley's previous wins had been at Harbour Town, in 2007 and 2008. Like the Heritage winner, the Colonial champion gets a plaid jacket, though the 2008 Ryder Cup team member wasn't able to compare any differences between them.

“I couldn't tell you, it's been so long,” said Weekley, who moved up to No. 55 in the world ranking, making him eligible for the U.S. Open.

Weekley, whose check of just more than $1.1 million matched what he earned his previous 14 tournaments this season while making 12 cuts and finishing in the top 10 three times, Weekley never trailed after consecutive birdies at Nos. 8-10. Those came at the same time Scott Stallings made double bogey at No. 15 to drop out of the lead.

Kuchar, at No. 13 the highest-ranked player in the field, was 12 under after a 55-foot birdie putt at the 436-yard 12th hole. Kuchar punched his right arm into the air to punctuate the shot that got him within a stroke of Weekley for the lead.

Johnson was at No. 17, where a 19-footer for his second consecutive birdie also got him to 12 under.

Almost as quickly, their one-stroke deficit was back to two after Weekley's birdie at No. 13.

“I played well, that's all you can do and whoever wins, tip of the cap,” Johnson said.

Stallings' closing 66 put him in a tie for fourth at 11 under, with John Rollins (68) and Matt Every (69).

The best round of the day was a 62 by Web.com Tour player Franklin Corpening, a Fort Worth native who grew up at Colonial and played at TCU. He finished at 8 under and tied for 14th, earning an automatic invitation to play again next year.

Kuchar made an 11-foot birdie putt off the back fringe at No. 2 before a bogey on the next hole when he took two shots from a greenside bunker. Then came a steady stream of pars until rolling in that long putt at No. 12. He didn't have another birdie until a closing 20-footer for second place alone, his sixth career runner-up finish.

“It's a bummer for me. This is a tournament, and this is a golf course, that I love,” said Kuchar, a five-time PGA Tour winner. “It's difficult at the moment coming just one shot short but you can't control what other guys do.”

Weekley's won the same week he went to see a doctor about the problem he has had recently maintaining focus in his left eye, sometimes causing bad twitches and making it problematic reading greens.

“I had a few out there. It was coming and going in that wind,” Weekley said. “I don't know what's going to happen. We're going to get home and work on it.”

Stallings had a 6-under 29 on the front nine, one off the course record, and was 13 under with a one-stroke lead when he got the 428-yard 15th hole. But he took three shots from inside a radius of about 5 yards after his approach shot from a left fairway bunker stopped behind the hole.

His chip shot then hit the edge of a greenside bunker, rolling into the sand, and he failed to get out of there on his next shot before finally blasting to 6 feet. Weekley had just made an 18-foot birdie at No. 9 to get to 12 under.

“It was kind of a make it, break it point,” Stallings said. “You've got to get up and down, especially with the guys with a lot of holes left.”

It was also at No. 15 where the only bogey of the day came for Johnson, who missed an opportunity to join five-time winner Ben Hogan as the only players to win Colonial more than twice.

While on the easy par-5, 548-yard first hole, the long-hitting Weekley told his caddie that it was good to feel butterflies again.

Weekley's 22-foot eagle chance at No. 1 stopped about 6 inches from the cup before he chipped in for another birdie from behind the third green. He sliced his tee shot out of bounds at No. 5 toward the Trinity River for a bogey and dropped another shot at the 437-yard seventh hole before starting his go-ahead birdie run with a 6-iron inside 4 feet at the 200-yard eighth hole.

“It feels good to actually have butterflies again, knowing that I’m in this, an opportunity to maybe win,” Weekley said. “I might have shot 80 today. But I didn’t. It was my time to win.”

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