Weekley gets break from delay

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.(AP) Some young pros chasing their first PGA Tour victory might get thrown off by a final-round wind delay and Monday finish. Not Boo Weekley, not by a long shot.

Weekley, two shots behind leader Jerry Kelly at the Verizon Heritage, feels the Sunday suspension might help him.

“I didn’t get much sleep last night,” he said. “We stayed up too late playing cards.”

Weekley got a break when winds strong enough that a marshal was hit by a falling tree limb swirled through Harbour Town Golf Links, halting play and bringing the tournament’s first Monday play since Jose Coceres defeated Billy Mayfair in a 2001 playoff.

Weekley finished seventh on the Nationwide Tour last season to return to the PGA Tour and faced the prospect of chasing down Kelly and Ernie Els if he hoped for victory.

But along with card-playing, the 33-year-old Weekley was kept up by the overnight storm.

“The air conditioning was broke so I had to sleep with the windows open and all that storm came through and it got to blowing the shutters around where I was staying at, so I didn’t get much sleep,” he said Sunday.

“At least tonight, I’ll get some sleep.”

Weekley will need all he can get. Play is supposed to resume at 7:45 a.m. from where they left off Sunday. PGA Tour tournament director Slugger White says forecasts call for milder winds – there were gusts of 44 mph on Sunday – for most of the morning. Should more than half the field, but not all, finish, White said a Tuesday finish was possible.

William Millon was the marshal hit by the branch between the first and ninth holes. He was taken to Hilton Head Regional Medical Center by ambulance and was later released with minor injuries, Verizon Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot said.

A short time later, the final round was halted because balls refused to remain in place on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, which are exposed to Calibogue Sound.

Wind off the famous lighthouse hole, No. 18, was enough to knock walkers off their strides.

“It got dangerous out there for spectators,” White said. “It was dangerous and unplayable.”

Mark Hensby was among the few golfers who played the par-4 16th. “We were walking along 16, and the tree branches, you actually heard one crack,” Hensby said. “Then a few were flying across the fairway, and then we figured someone was going to get hurt out there.”

The conditions would’ve been brutal on players’ scores, too. J.B. Holmes hit the green on the par-3 17th – a hole moved up some 70 yards to play at 138 yards – then needed three putts to finish.

Weekley, who is two shots behind leader Jerry Kelly, was playing the second hole when the round was halted. “I heard some stories in the locker room, and it was pretty ridiculous, really,” he said.

Sand from a bunker along the 16th hole’s left side was blown into the fairway, covering much of the grass.

A swaying tree snagged the netting of Harbour Town’s driving range and pulled part of it away.

Another long pine tree limb was split by the wind and hanging in the same area where Millon was struck. Tournament officials rolled in a backhoe to pull down the branch as they directed spectators onto the ninth fairway on their way to Harbour Town’s entrance.

Kelly expected to bring a similar mind-set into Monday morning as he tries for his first PGA Tour victory in five years. “I think I’ll be able to get the adrenaline back up tomorrow morning, no problem,” he said. “And off to the races.”

Players and caddies milled around the putting green – they were not permitted to practice – waiting for things to calm.

Past Verizon Heritage champion Peter Lonard and fellow Australian pro Mathew Goggin got a makeshift cricket match going on the practice green by the 10th tee.

Hensby, another Australian, did not take part. “Cricket is boring,” he said.

Five-time Verizon Heritage winner Davis Love III had a different sport in mind as he waited. “It’s a good day to watch the (NASCAR) race” at Texas Motor Speedway, he said.

Weekley didn’t think the delay would affect his game. He also didn’t expect to switch any clubs to deal with additional wind. “Not unless it’s a bazooka and it shoots it straight,” he said.

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