MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Boo Weekley will be taking a month off after the U.S. Open for a very important personal reason.
“I got a newborn going to be here, and I want to take a little time and see if I can help out around the house,” Weekley said.
Before that, he’s doing his best to take care of some business ahead of that break.
Weekley shot a 5-under 65 Thursday and led Tommy Armour III by a stroke after the first round of the Stanford St. Jude Championship, the last tuneup before the Open. Vijay Singh was third with a 67 after a roller-coaster round.
Everyone gave the TPC at Southwind course rave reviews for being in great shape, but a wind advisory was in place and had gusts into the 30s. Temperatures in the 90s had the greens firm, and the result was only 23 golfers broke par at the 7,244-yard layout.
“If you get blown off in the rough, it’s not penal like next week would be,” Armour said of what they will face at Torrey Pines. “You’ve got to hit the shots because the greens are firm, and the greens are perfect.”
The winds picked up in the afternoon when only six broke par led by Singh whose round featured two bogeys, a double bogey, an eagle and five birdies.
Sergio Garcia, who won the Players Championship last month, had a share of the early lead before a double bogey. He finished with a 68 and was tied with Davis Love III and five others. Kenny Perry opened with a 71 in his pursuit of consecutive wins after winning at Memorial and was tied with a group including defending champ Woody Austin.
Jeff Overton, who turned pro in 2005, had a hot start and took the early lead at 6 under with his sixth birdie in 11 holes. Then it fell apart with two bogeys and a double-bogey in which he completely missed the green on No. 15 with his approach.
Weekly and his wife, who already have a son, are expecting their second child soon. That is why he planned on playing here where he shot a final-round 63 in his first stint on tour in 2002 before heading to California and Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open.
He’s already won once this year among his four Top 10s. He’s got nine Top 25s and missed only three cuts in 15 events. He’s won $1.8 million and is ninth in the FedExCup points.
But Weekley missed the cut at Memorial last week, so he arrived early in Memphis and spent the weekend practicing on this course. The man who won Hilton Head in April and is ranked 12th on this year’s money list, used a cart in playing nine holes last Saturday and 18 on Sunday to give himself more time to check out the greens.
The extra work paid off Thursday, especially with his putter.
He rolled in six birdies, his last birdie coming on No. 18 to give him the lead to himself and break a tie atop the leaderboard with Armour. He needed 28 putts and got started by rolling in a 20-footer on No. 1.
“Pretty good putt. Good thing the hole got in the way,” Weekley said.
His lone bogey came on the par-3 No. 4 where he hit into a bunker and misread a par putt from 6 feet. Weekley hit an 8-iron to 11 feet to start the back nine and sunk the birdie putt. He followed with a 9-iron to 4 feet on No. 12, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th after hitting a 3-iron onto the front of the green and had a 12-footer on No. 18.
“I drove the ball well today for a change,” Weekley said. “You have to play, and my irons were superb. I hit them real good and then my putting, putting was excellent.”
Armour had a nice round going himself until the par-3 No. 8 when he missed the green and two-putted for his lone bogey.
“I was happy,” he said.
Divots: Singh had one of only three eagles in the first round. Mark Calcavecchia and Bob Sowards had the others. … The caddies are wearing bibs decorated by artwork from patients at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which has benefited from this tournament for decades. … Tour rookie Cody Freeman had an opening 68, a nice change after missing six straight cuts. … Glen Day had the only bogey-free round Thursday.