Weaver Shines at PGA Qualifier
Drew Weaver, the former Virginia Tech golfer who appears on his way to the PGA Tour, took a giant stride in that direction Friday when he claimed medalist honors in the first stage qualifying event held on Pinewild Country Club’s magnificent Magnolia Course.
Joining Weaver among the 23 players who advanced to the second stage were Andy Bare, of West End, and David Sanchez, the former N.C. State player, who resides in Pinehurst.
Weaver, a High Point native who plays out of St. Simons Island, Ga., and already has a British Amateur Championship to his credit, shot 12-under-par 66-67-68-71—276. Stephen Gangluff, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was second, a stroke back at 277.
Charlie Waddell, of Wilmette, Ill., and Paul Woodbury, of Lake City, S.C., tied for third at 281. Phillip Mollica, the former Clemson left-hander and a past North and South Amateur champion, shot 283.
Weaver is a talented player who spent part of this past season on the PGA Tour as well as on the Nationwide, European and eGolf Tours.
“It feels great anytime you advance from a phase of Q-school,” the 23-year-old Weaver said. “I’ve played Pinewild before and feel comfortable here. It’s a course that kind of fits my game.”
That game is obviously a pretty good one. He won the British Amateur in 2007 and played in the Masters and British Open in 2008. He tied for 40th in the 2009 U.S. Open.
“I came here feeling positive about my game,” Weaver said. “I won on the eGolf Tour and made the cut in the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.”
Weaver made 20 birdies and eagled the par-5 13th hole as he either held or shared the lead all four rounds. He led by three shots entering the final round.
Bare, a 29-year-old who at times has appeared ready to take his game to the next level, isn’t allowing himself to get too excited about advancing. A multiple winner on the old Tarheel Tour, he’s been here before.
“I was playing my best golf of the year before coming here,” he said after shooting 72-71-73-71—287 and tying for 13th, “but I kind of scraped it around this week. The best shots I hit came on the last three holes. My short game was terrible. About the best thing I had going for me was persistence and being able to stay patient. I can’t tell you how many bad shots I hit, but I hung in there.”
Bare, whose caddie was four-time Moore County Amateur Champion and friend Sherrill Britt, had an eight-foot putt for birdie on the final hole, but lagged it close and tapped in for par.
“Finishing first or 23rd here gets the same thing,” he said. “I would have liked to have made it, but I wasn’t really trying to. I just wanted a tap-in.”
The second stage qualifying site wasn’t definite, but Bare’s preference is for it to be in Houston, Texas. “We probably won’t know for about a week,” he said.
And how does he feel about the future?
“My feeling is that I’d better get something going soon,” he said. “I’m not that young anymore.”
Sanchez shot 71-69-75-73—288 and wasn’t happy with his play despite earning a second stage berth by tying for 16th.
“I had no idea where the ball was going,” the 32-year-old Sanchez said, “but I had enough good spurts each round to keep me alive. This is a hard course for me.”
One of those “spurts” came in the final round after what could have been a disastrous hole.
“I hit out of bounds on No. 6,” he said, “but I made birdies on 7 and 8 and on 12, 13 and 14. I just hit some good shots on the way in.”
Sanchez, who played on the Nationwide Tour two years ago, came here feeling good about his game.
“I felt pretty good and I don’t feel terrible about it now,” he said. “I played well in the first two eGolf Tour events of the year and in the last two. But most of the time I played awful.
“The first day here I was terrible and shot 71. The second day I hit it awful but chipped in twice for 69. Today, I couldn’t drive it in a 40–acre field.”
Contact Howard Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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