Date: April 16, 2007

Back nine hurts Leaney

Australian Stephen Leaney cost himself a chance for victory on the back nine when he lost three shots in four holes on his way to third behind Boo Weekley in the rain-interrupted Verizon Open. After dangerously high winds forced the tournament into a Monday, Leaney, on 15 under, held a one shot lead over Weekley and Jerry Kelly after seven holes but bogies on 13 and 15, split by a birdie at 14, and a double bogey on 16 cost him dearly. Leaney&aposs 68, the best round of the day, enabled him to finish on 12-under, two shots behind Weekley, who also carded a 68, while South African Ernie Els had a 70 to be 11-under. Aaron Baddeley was the next best Australian, carding a one-over-par 72 to finish on six-under for a five-way share of 10th place, while Rod Pampling (16th), Nick O&aposHern (23rd), Matthew Goggin (29th) and Mark Hensby (29th) all grabbed top-30 placings. Weekley&aposs final round on Monday, delayed from Sunday due to strong winds, featured an eagle at the par-five 5th and a pair of badly needed chip-ins to close his round. The win gave him a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an invitation to the 2008 Masters. “It might take me another year to figure out all the exemptions,” said Weekley, who finished at 14-under 270. Coming off a bogey, Weekley had some work to do at the par-three 17th, where he chipped onto the green and watched his shot roll into the cup. Playing in the next group, Els bogeyed 17 when he sailed his iron off the tee into a hazard, making it a two-stroke margin. At the par-four 18th, Weekley again found himself in trouble when his first three shots found the rough, leaving him 12 yards from the cup. Prepared to take bogey for the hole, he again knocked in the chip shot for par, maintaining his lead. “I was just like, all right, I ain&apost even going to worry about it, just get up there and chip it on, two-putt it and make my bogey and go to the next hole and give myself another opportunity,” he said. Els threw a scare into Weekley when his approach on 18 stopped less than two feet from the cup. His tap-in birdie completed a one-under 70. “I don&apost think I want to see this replay,” said Els, who has not won on the PGA Tour in almost three years. Sunday&aposs round was suspended after strong winds made play impossible on the Harbour Town Golf Links. When play resumed Monday morning, third-round leader Jerry Kelly bogeyed two holes en route to a six-over 77. Vaughn Taylor (70) and Kevin Na (73) tied for fourth at 274, one shot better than Masters champion Zach Johnson (71).