Weekley Celebrates Victory Over Els

Boo Weekley appeared to be doing his best to help Ernie Els end his three-year drought on the PGA Tour. That was until a 36-foot putt on the 18th gave him victory at the Verizon Heritage, which spilled over to Monday because of bad weather.

Weekley chipped in over the last two holes at Harbour Town for a final round of three-under-par 68 and victory over South African Els. His 72-hold total of 14-under 270 was one stroke better than Els, who shot 70 in the final round, and two ahead of Australian Stephen Leaney, who closed with 68.

The American took a three-shot lead into the 16th but bogeyed that hole before getting stuck behind the 17th green. He saved par with a 40-foot chip to maintain his slender lead and then chipped again from the rough on the 18th to keep Els at bay.

His victory made up for his failure to win the Honda Classic one month ago – a tournament that also carried over to the Monday to accommodate a four-man play-off. Weekley missed a three-foot putt on the final hole that would have given him an outright victory. However, what he couldn’t do from three feet a month ago, he managed with aplomb from 36 feet as the 36-year-old picked up US$972,000 and a Tour exemption for 2008.

For Els, it was an encouraging performance as he tries to rediscover his Major-winning form in his pursuit of Tiger Woods and the world number one ranking.

Els has given himself three years to unseat Woods in the Official World Rankings. Els is currently ranked fifth in the world while Weekley, who returned to the PGA Tour after a stint in the Nationwide Tour, jumped 60 places to 55th after his victory on Monday.

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