Boo Weekley enjoyed hearing his name yelled again and again while he was on the golf course.
What will mean even more is seeing it engraved on Colonial’s famed Wall of Champions along with the likes of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.
Weekley got his first PGA Tour victory in five years Sunday, closing with a 4-under 66 that included three consecutive birdies midway through his round and a momentum-seizing 22-footer at the par-3 13th hole.
”It’s unreal,” he said. ”Ever since I’ve been coming here and looking at that wall, and you see all of them names on the wall, and finally I get to have my name up there, it don’t get no better than that.”
Finishing at 14-under 266, Weekley won by a single stroke over Matt Kuchar, the second- and third-round leader who closed with a 68.
Defending champion Zach Johnson, who also won in 2010, shot a 66 to finish third at 12 under – his first top-10 finish this season. It was his fifth consecutive top-10 at Hogan’s Alley, where he has played 19 of his last 20 rounds under par.
Weekley was at the 13th hole before he finally glanced at a leaderboard – and saw his name on top.
When his birdie putt dropped to get him to 14 under, Weekley thrust his putter above his head and acknowledged the loud chorus of ”Boo!” coming from the often rowdy crowd surrounding the picturesque hole on a back edge of the property. He then finished with five consecutive pars, even missing a pair of 4-foot putts before a 29-foot birdie try at No. 18 lipped out of the cup.
By moving to No. 55 in the world ranking, Weekley is now eligible for the U.S. Open.
Both of his 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,” he said.
Weekley’s check of just more than $1.1 million matched what he earned over his previous 14 tournaments this season while making 12 cuts and finishing in the top 10 three times. He never trailed after consecutive birdies at Nos. 8-10, those coming about the same time Scott Stallings – who had a front-side 6-under 29 – made double bogey with three shots from bunkers at No. 15 to drop out of the lead.
The win for Weekley came 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.”
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 and led to his own fist pump.
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,” said Johnson, who is the first player with five consecutive top-10 finishes at Colonial since Gene Littler did it six times from 1963-68.
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 put him alone in second place for 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.”