This took the Canadian to 7 under 36 holes, with Steve Stricker (68), Rocco Mediate (69) and John Riegger at 3 under. Riegger had three more holes to play when play was suspended due to darkness at 8:31 pm Weir had finished his round a few minutes earlier.
Weir won the Insperity Invitational in Houston earlier this month for his first PGA Tour Champions victory. The southpaw had six birdies against a bogey. His longest birdie putt was only 10 feet and he made some tough saves on holes 7, 8 and 9 – his closing holes – to stay clear of the field.
“It was a really fun round of golf,” Weir said. “This is a very demanding golf course so when you have your opportunities and you take advantage of them you feel good because you know you are going to fight for pars on certain holes, where I was going and I was going. made some good leaves. putts to finish the round well.
“But all aspects of my game were a bit more precise today. I drove it a little better than yesterday and the putting was still solid. I hit some iron shots a little closer to the hole today than yesterday and that’s why I fell to 5 cents.
Weir’s tee shot in the seventh par 4 stopped a yard from bouncing into a stream, and he putt 9 feet to save the par. He hit a long bunker shot on the eighth par 3 hole a few inches away. He polished it with a 5 foot putt on his last hole.
Stricker started and ended a long day with back-to-back bogeys, but still managed to get off the course with what was then a 3-under share of the lead. He had 11 holes to complete on his first round and quickly left for the second round in windier but drier conditions.
Apparently, the disappointing start and end made it hard to remember everything that happened in between. When asked which club and how far he was out of 10 when he walked away from the fairway for an eagle that took him to 5 cents, he got a blank stare and the moderator had to remind him that ‘he had made an eagle there.
” Oh. I forgot I did it, ”Stricker said. “I was about 107 yards, I’m thinking of the hole and right between the clubs, so I just took a corner and just tried to jump it up the hill a bit. And that’s just a bonus, you wouldn’t expect something like this to be done. But it was a good move and it got me going. “
Mediate also shot an eagle from the fairway, hitting a 9 iron 138 yards into the cup on his third shot on the fifth par 5 hole to go from 2 to a par. He then added birdies to numbers 7 and 8 to play his last five in 4 under.
“I did a few bogeys, but I punched a 9 in 5 iron that kind of rocked the world,” said Mediate. “It was just one of those things that happened. And then I ended up pretty well after that. I was playing good, a couple more, but it’s easy to do that around this place, this place is total championship golf. It’s really good. “
Stricker’s group included South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who won the 2001 US Open in Southern Hills. It drew much of the estimated 8,000 crowd in attendance on a sunny day with low temperatures of 70 and a light northerly breeze.
Els hit the eagle on the 17th par-4 and shot a par 70 to stay 3 over. Goosen shot 72 and was 1 over. Defending 2019 champion Ken Tanigawa missed the cup 8 over (73-75).