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New look Boo still in the hunt

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Posted: April 12, 2008 9:26 p.m.
Updated: April 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    AUGUSTA — His scruffy goatee was noticeably absent, but his mojo was at a full strength.
    Crowd favorite and Masters rookie Boo Weekley surprised the masses when he showed up clean shaven at Augusta National Saturday, and he also made plenty of noise on the course where he carded a 4-under 68 — his best score yet.
    “My wife told me it kind of started looking hideous,” Weekley said of his chin fur. “She’s like, ‘It’s time to either trim it up or take it off.’ I didn’t have trimmers with me, so I just went ahead and took it off.”
    He wasn’t sure if the change brought him good luck or not, but his improvement was notable — he climbed 22 spots on the leaderboard Saturday, ending the day in a nine-way tie for seventh place and eight shots behind the leader Trevor Immelman
    Weekley, who played at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and punched his ticked to the Masters by winning last year’s Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, jumpstarted a strong Saturday with birdies on the first and third holes.
    He was on the fifth hole when the skies opened up, halting play for 45 minutes. Weekley remained on the course during the delay, eating crackers with his caddie underneath an umbrella behind the fifth green. The stoppage didn’t bother him much, he said.
    “It just kind of slows it down, the course out there, especially when we just got into a pretty good rhythm there,” he said. “But it happens. You can’t control the weather.”
    Weekley’s third round was fueled by his putting, which has been lacking somewhat this week. The rain helped slow and soften the greens a little bit, and Weekley said he’s still learning the best way to handle the difficult greens.
    “We read them pretty good today,” he said. “I hit it close enough to where we gave ourselves the opportunity to make the putts.”
    Weekley’s laidback nature and lack of Masters knowledge caught some people a little off guard this week. He was unaware which three holes made up the famous Amen Corner, he thought the 530-yard 15th hole was a par-4 instead of a par-5 and he wasn’t sure which holes he had birdied after finishing up his third round Saturday.
    But none of that stopped him from another solid day at Augusta where he’ll look to continue his ascent up the leaderboard Sunday.
    “It was a good round today,” he said. “I’ve been hitting it pretty solid, it’s just finally whether some putts starting falling.”

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.
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