Boo Weekley seeking third title at Harbour Town
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - Boo Weekley always feels at home coming to the RBC Heritage.
Maybe that's why he usually plays his best at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Weekley, a two-time champion here, was at it again on Friday after his 6-under 66 moved him into contention, three strokes behind leader Colt Knost after the second round Friday.
Knost shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Carl Pettersson. Knost, tied for the first-round lead with Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor after a 67, had three birdies in a four-hole stretch midway through the round and finished at 9-under 133.
Pettersson had a 65, his best showing in 32 career rounds here. Harris English (68) was also three shots off the lead at 6 under in a week when Masters champion Bubba Watson and most of the world's best took a break following the year's first major.
World No. 1 Luke Donald, though, was among the few stars at Harbour Town. He needs a top-eight finish to retain the top spot over idle No. 2 Rory McIlroy, and bounced back from an opening 75 with a 69 to slide inside the cut line.
Campbell (70) and Robert Garrigus (66) were four shots behind. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker had five consecutive birdies on the way to a 67 and was tied with Michael Bradley (64), Kevin Na (68), Bob Estes (67) and Fredrik Jacobson (67) at 4 under.
Weekley said he's treated as well here as anywhere on the Tour.
``Not unless I played at my home course,'' said Weekley, who won here in 2007 and 2008 for his only two PGA Tour wins.
``The people around here are just as nice and genuine as they can be,'' he said. ``Even when you hit a bad shot when you walk by the ropes, `It's OK. Get this up and down.'''
The admiration is a two-way street as Weekley is serenaded with shouts of ``Boo'' almost anywhere he walks the course.
And Weekley gave them plenty to cheer about. He had birdies on the second, fifth, eighth and ninth holes to draw closer to the top. He closed his round with birdies on the 13th and 15th holes.
Weekley says the considerate fans at the RBC Heritage have plenty to do with his success.
``It means a lot to us players to know that even though we hit a bad shot, you don't hear them saying, `Oh, I could have hit better than that.' A lot of times you do hear that, `What was he thinking?''' Weekley went on.
``This,'' he said, ``is a good place.''
Knost feels that way, too.
The 26-year-old Knost was one of the fastest risers in golf a few years ago, winning the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Public Links championship and helping the American team win the Walker Cup in 2007. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, his first season as a pro, and easily qualified for the big tour. Even more winning was ahead, right?
``I felt like I was ready for this level out here,'' Knost said. ``And apparently, I wasn't.''
Knost missed the cut in 13 of 24 tour events that year and earned $180,734 to lose his card after 2009. He regained playing privileges after another season on the Nationwide Tour and yet again struggled at the higher level, missing cuts in 15 of 26 events.
Knost held on to his tour card in gut-wrenching experience at Q-school - he was in tears when he thought a double bogey on the 108th and final hole cost him the PGA Tour - and has since tried to rediscover the work habits and confidence that made him one of the decade's best amateurs.
``I don't know if I just didn't continue with the same work ethic or not or I didn't have the belief, but it was a struggle for a few years out here,'' Knost said. ``But now I feel like I'm starting to get my game back where I like it.''
Knost certainly liked his second-round performance.
Knost's round got going with a stretch of three birdies in four holes to give him the lead at 8 under. He made his final birdie on the par-5 fifth and finished off the bogey-free round that stoked his confidence.
``I felt so comfortable out there being around the lead, even though it's only Friday,'' he said. ``I think I'm also going to feel great this weekend.''
Those missing the cut here included No. 18 in the world and last year's FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas and a pair of three-time major champions in Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington.
Els, who missed the Masters last week after 18 straight appearances, shot an 8-over 43 on his final nine holes, including a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th that kept him from playing the weekend.