FARMINGTON – Most other folks aren’t typically excited to show 48, however for Utah golfer Mike Weir, turning 48 two months in the past, on May 12, used to be sort of a large deal. It intended that he used to be eligible to play on the Web.com Tour with exempt standing for the following two years.
You would possibly marvel why that might be necessary to a man like Weir, who has gained 8 tournaments on the PGA Tour, together with the 2003 Masters, and has pocketed more than $27 million, the 37th maximum all-time on the PGA Tour.
But for Weir, who has struggled for far of the previous decade with a chain of accidents and below-par play, it’s thrilling as he gears up for a “new chapter” in his profession by way of enjoying with a number of children part his age.
Weir needs to play on the Champions Tour in 2020 when he turns 50 and sign up for previous buddies and competition on the hyperlinks. By enjoying on the Web.com Tour, he can stay his recreation sharp in conjunction with his aggressive edge. He’s performed in 4 Web.com occasions sooner than enjoying Thursday within the first spherical of the Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club.
Weir used to be all smiles after his spherical Thursday, despite the fact that his even-par 71 left him in a tie for 104th position, 10 complete photographs in the back of first-day chief Cameron Champ, who shot a career-best 61 at Oakridge Country Club. Weir had his two daughters, Elle, 20, and Lili, 17, following him, to not point out a number of different buddies, and he completed sturdy.
“I’m really enjoying my golf now — I love to compete still and am having a lot of fun,” he stated. “Today wasn’t my best, but I’m enjoying golf maybe more than I ever have.”
An afternoon previous, Weir had shot “eight- or nine-under par” in a pro-am, however some deficient drives price him some photographs on Thursday. He had began poorly, falling to Three-over par thru seven holes, however he settled down and performed Three-under the remainder of the way in which, together with a birdie on the final hollow when he hit his way inside six ft.
“I know I’m playing well, I just wasn’t real sharp today, so I wanted to just stay patient and say, ‘hey there’s lots of golf left’ and birdied two of the last three to get it back to even,” he stated. “I get out early with the good greens tomorrow and maybe I can shoot a 7 or 8 under and get back in there.”
Weir is the “old man” on the Web.com Tour, the place there are few golfers older than 30. He’s eligible beneath class No. eight some of the 32 classes for figuring out every week’s box. Three former PGA Tour gamers ages 48 and 49 are eligible for every Web.com tournament, and because he has more profession income than somebody else, he’s all the time confident of enjoying each time he needs.
You’d suppose it may well be a little bit demeaning for a former Masters champion to be enjoying within the “minor leagues” and incomes assessments for $1,578 as he did final month in Illinois. But it doesn’t hassle Weir.
“That’s golf, I don’t look at it that way at all,” he stated. “You’ve got to throw your ego out when you play this game. I played six or seven years on the Canadian Tour and in Australia before I got on the Tour. I didn’t get on the Tour until I was 28 years old. I had to play on some smaller tours and do all that. It’s fine — it’s just what it is.”
Weir, who got here out to Utah from Bright’s Grove in Ontario, Canada, to play golf at BYU within the early 1990s, has made it his house ever since as he now lives in Sandy.
“It’s great, one of the reasons I live here is because of the lifestyle — the fly fishing skiing, good golf … I used to think it was a secret, but the word’s out, it’s a great place.”
A short time after Weir completed his spherical within the overdue afternoon, Champ completed up his impressive spherical of 61, which tied the direction report set final yr by way of Christian Brand.
The 23-year-old who performed for Texas A&M, has come on sturdy after a sluggish begin to his rookie season, completing within the most sensible 10 of his final 4 occasions.
Champ began off by way of make birdies on the primary 3 holes after which birdied holes 7 thru nine to make the flip at 30. Then on the again 9, he rolled in a 65-footer on the par-Three 11th hollow and added birds at 13, 15 and 16.
At that time, all he wanted had been a few more birdies on the overall two holes to sign up for the unique 59 membership and change into the 8th participant in Web.com Tour historical past to shoot beneath 60. However he left himself lengthy putts at 17 and 18 and settled for his 61.
Champ is 2 photographs forward of 3 different golfers, Luke Guthrie, Martin Trainer and Steven Ihm, and 3 forward of former PGA Tour winner Derek Ernst.
Patrick Fishburn, the reigning Utah Open champion and previous BYU standout, fired a Four-under-par 67, which places him in a tie for 29th position going into the second one spherical, in conjunction with Scott Pinckney, who used to be born in Orem and performed junior golf in Utah sooner than shifting to Arizona as a youngster.