Weaver Posts Second-Round 64 to Take 36-Hole Lead at eGolf Tour’s Bolle Classic
By Stewart Moore
Lexington, NC – Two-time eGolf Tour winner Drew Weaver of High Point, NC needed a brief respite from the game of golf last week, following a playoff loss at the HGM Hotels Classic at Rock Barn, and a disappointing showing at U.S. Open sectionals just two days later. That respite, as it turned out, refocused a red-hot Weaver, as the former U.S. Walker Cupper posted rounds of 65-64—129 this week at the tour’s Bolle Classic to seize a one-shot leading heading into Friday’s third round.
The Bolle Classic is the 12th event of the 2011 eGolf Tour season and is being contested this week at both Sapona Country Club in Lexington, NC and Colonial Country Club in Thomasville, NC.
Weaver, the 2007 British Amateur champion, entered day two of the Bolle Classic on the heels of a 5-under 65 on Wednesday afternoon at Colonial Country Club. Starting on the front nine of the Ellis Maples-designed Sapona Country Club course, Weaver birdied Nos. 2, 6 and 8 to post an outward nine of 3-under 32, which in turn put him at 8-under for the week.
“I missed a 5-footer for birdie on the first hole, but stayed patient and plotted my way through the round,” said Weaver, 25. “I knew there were birdies out there, but it’s not a golf course where you can push it – you have to figure out where to take your chances.”
Pars on Nos. 10 through 13 kept Weaver at 3-under for the round, but a stellar wedge-shot approach to the par-4 14th left him inches away from his fourth birdie of the round, and in turn jumpstarted a strong finish for the former Virginia Tech star.
The birdie at 14 was followed-up by birdies at 15 and 16 to reach 6-under on the round. At the par-5 18th, Weaver added yet one more birdie to close in 4-under 32 for a second-round 64 and a 12-under 129 total. Bogey-free through 36 holes of play, Weaver will take a one shot lead into Friday’s third round of the 72-hole event.
Over his last 17 rounds on the eGolf Tour – a stretch dating back to the start of the Columbia Open in May – Weaver is now a cumulative 67-under par, for an average of 3.9 strokes under par per round.
That stretch of golf, in and of itself, resurrected a slow start to Weaver’s 2012 eGolf Tour campaign. Missed cuts in his first two starts of the year gave way to a T5 finish at the Pine Needles Classic in March, but Weaver wouldn’t post another top-10 until a T2 effort at the Columbia Open in May, where he fell one shot shy of winner Jack Fields.
The runner-up in Columbia led into Weaver’s second career win two weeks later at the Willow Creek Open, contested on his home course (Willow Creek Country Club) in High Point, NC. A final-round 76 at the River Hills Classic the next week left Weaver with a T8 finish, but the current Sea Island (GA) resident bounced back at the following event with a playoff loss to Matt Harmon at the tour’s HGM Hotels Classic at Rock Barn.
At Rock Barn, Weaver had a 9-foot birdie try on the 72nd green to win the tournament outright, but watched in disbelief as it missed on the low side. On the first playoff hole, he three-putted from 35 feet for par to send the two players back to the tee of the par-5 18th. On the second go around, Weaver watched from the fringe as Harmon holed a 40-foot bunker shot for eagle to win his first eGolf Tour title. Weaver was left with yet another runner-up, and his fourth top-5 of the year.
“I was pretty disappointed to lose at Rock Barn, especially after having more than one chance to win,” Weaver said. “After that, I fell on my face at U.S. Open sectionals two days later. That was a wake-up call for me, as my game was good physically, but mentally, I was worn out.”
The 36-hole grinder known as U.S. Open sectionals took place just 48 hours after the conclusion of the Rock Barn event, and left a worn-out Weaver looking for answers after posting 82 in the morning round at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, MD. Needing to simply recharge the batteries, Weaver withdrew from the afternoon round in order to head back to Georgia and get away from the game, if only for a day.
“That bad showing at sectionals lit a fire under me, no doubt,” he said. “I had the last five or six days before this week to get refreshed and I felt ready to go.”
Time spent with coach Mark Love at Sea Island reinforced Weaver’s need to focus on particular aspects of his game. After taking a 24-hour hiatus from his clubs last Tuesday, Weaver returned to the range on Wednesday to get ready for this week, as well as an upcoming stretch in Virginia – where he made a name for himself on the college level.
“For me, it’s really important to have something to be working towards, otherwise, I tend to get complacent,” said Weaver. “I always want to have something to key on and work on.”
Weaver’s torrid 2012 stretch has left him wanting even more. The playoff loss at Rock Barn and tough showing at sectionals put him back where he needed to be, with the mindset of the guy who missed a few early cuts – not the one who has arguably been the hottest developmental tour player in the country over the last six weeks.
“If you have a few good events in a row, it’s easy to sit back and think you can put things on cruise control,” he said. “But, things can get offline easily. I have different faults that I gravitate towards, so I’m always working to stay on top of them so that I keep improving.”
In solo-second place, one shot behind Weaver at 11-under 130, is three-time eGolf Tour winner Clint Jensen of Jupiter, FL.
Jensen, who opened his week with a 6-under 65 on Wednesday morning at Sapona, pared his first two holes at Colonial on Thursday before going on a birdie-every-other-hole streak from Nos. 3 through 11 to reach 5-under on the day. A bogey at the par-4 14th dropped the former Tulsa golfer back down to 4-under, but a closing birdie at the uphill par-4 18th gave him a second consecutive 65 to reach 11-under on the week.
A three-time winner on the eGolf Tour, Jensen is in the middle of yet another solid campaign in 2012. The 37-year-old father of two has made seven of nine cuts on the year, and has notched two top-5 finishes, including a playoff win at the Forest Oaks Classic. Jensen is currently No. 7 on the tour’s money list with $37,713 in 2012 earnings.
At the 2011 Bolle Classic, Jensen posted rounds of 66-65-64—195 to take a one-shot lead into the event’s final round, but he fell victim to a closing 63 by winner Corey Nagy, as his 2-under 69 on day four left him three shots shy of the champion.
Jhared Hack of Sanford, FL and tour rookie Wesley Bryan of Chapin, SC are tied for third, three shots behind Weaver at 9-under 132.
Hack, the event’s 18-hole leader, followed up his day one 64 with a second-round 68 at Colonial to reach 9-under through 36 holes of play.
A two-time winner on the eGolf Tour, Hack looks to be back in good form after posting a season-best T14 finish at the HGM Hotels Classic in his last start. The top-15 finish at Rock Barn was his first on tour since grabbing the second of his two career wins at the Southern Open in 2010.
As a junior golfer, Hack was one of the country’s top players when he won the prestigious Western Junior in the summer of 2006, and followed that up with a win at the star-studded Western Amateur the following year. Beating the likes of PGA TOUR players Dustin Johnson and Alex Prugh en route to the title, Hack became the second-youngest winner in the storied history of the Western Amateur.
Bryan, making just the second start of his eGolf Tour career, birdied five of his last nine holes on Wednesday at Sapona on his way to a first-round 66. At Colonial for Thursday’s second round, the former University of South Carolina star carded five birdies against one lone bogey at the par-3 15th to post a 4-under 66.
Just one month removed from finishing his career as a Gamecock golfer, Bryan’s good start to the week in Lexington came on the heels of a T21 finish in his professional debut at Rock Barn. That week, Bryan opened with rounds of 67-68 to play his way into contention (trailing older brother George at the time), but closed with 72-74 to finish seven shots out of the Harmon-Weaver playoff.
The event’s 36-hole cut fell at 2-under 139, with 50 players making it through to the final 36 holes of play.
Third-round play in the Bolle Classic will begin at 8:00 AM on Friday morning with players competing in threesomes off of Nos. 1 and 10 at Sapona Country Club. The tournament is open to the public and free of charge.