Weekley, two others tied for Mayakoba lead

Updated: February 23, 2007, 7:43 PM ET
Associated Press

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- There aren't many PGA Tour players like Boo Weekley, a country boy named for Yogi Bear's sidekick who gives quotes reminiscent of Yogi Berra.

Yet at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, no one is playing any better.

Weekley followed his opening 6-under 64 -- the best round of his PGA Tour career -- with a 67 on Friday to move him into a three-way tie for first place midway through the tour's first tournament in Mexico.

So how did he break down his round?

"Some holes I hit it pretty close," he said, "and some holes I didn't."

And his strategy for the final two rounds?

"Just go out and try to make real good swings," he said, flashing a toothy grin.

Fred Funk, the first-round leader after a 62, had a 69 to match Weekley and Cameron Beckman (67) at 9-under 131.

Jose Coceres (65), Bill Haas (66) and Brian Gay (67) were one shot back. Peter Lonard (68), Ryan Armour (65) and John Merrick (69) were 7-under, followed by a big group at 6-under that included Bob Tway and Fabrizio Zanotti, both of whom shot 63s.

"I'm here to see what I can do," said Zanotti, a Paraguayan who got into the field on a sponsor's exemption after winning the Mexico Open in December. "I can play on the PGA Tour."

Brent Geiberger had the best round of the day, an 8-under 62, taking him from over par to into contention at 5-under.

The tour's south-of-the-border debut is being played on the El Camaleon resort course designed by Greg Norman for tourists. Even with its tight fairways a par trimmed two strokes to 70, the pros have done well enough for the cut line to be even par. Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen was the biggest name to miss it.

Many of the world's elite players aren't here, though, because the tournament conflicts with the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. That hardly matters to Funk, who is trying to become only the second player to win a PGA Tour event after winning on the Champions Tour, or to Weekley, who spent the last four years on the Nationwide Tour.

Thomas Brent Weekley grew up near Pensacola, Fla., living a country life of huntin' and fishin', not a country clubber's. He got his nickname as a kid because of his fascination with Boo Boo Bear.

Problems with Spanish -- of all things -- prevented him from getting into most of the colleges he wanted to attend, so he ended up spending time at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He then worked at a chemical plant before turning pro in 1997.

He bounced around mini-tours until earning a PGA Tour card in 2002. He cashed checks in only five of 24 starts and then struggled to make an impact on the Nationwide Tour.

He never finished higher than second but did well enough overall last year to regain his PGA Tour card. He made two of five cuts coming into this event and is in position for a finish that could go a long way toward keeping him on Tour in 2008.

His opening round featured eight birdies but also "one silly mistake" that led to a double bogey, leaving him two behind Funk. Still, the 64 was three strokes better than he'd ever shot on the tour.

He had six birdies and three bogeys Friday. The 67 matched what had been his tour best before this tournament.

"Today, I kind of struggled a little bit on the front side, actually about the first 13 holes, just trying to hit my irons solid," he said. "I felt like I made one good swing and then everything kind of started clicking together. Like, all right, there's that swing I've been looking for. I hit some good shots coming in."

During his scuffling start, Weekley birdied the second hold and then bogeyed the third. He was headed to more trouble when he followed a good drive on No. 4 with an ugly approach.

He wound up with a birdie -- and a great description of it: "I made about a 35-, 40-footer there, one of them ones that you ain't supposed to make."

Yogi couldn't have said it any better his own self.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press