Mahan makes his run at leaders
KAPALUA, Maui » There was a time during yesterday's Mercedes-Benz Championship when it appeared Hunter Mahan would climb from 16th place right to the top of the leaderboard.
Starting 70 minutes behind the leaders, Mahan fired a stellar 6-under 30 on the front and birdied the 11th to suddenly find himself among the leaders. Several close calls on the back began to slow his pace, but a birdie at the par-5 15th had him 13 under for the tournament, trailing eventual winner Daniel Chopra by only two shots.
But a bogey at the 17th ended that dream, even with his eagle at the last that left him 9 under for his round. He eventually finished in a tie for fifth with Jim Furyk and Nick Watney.
"I just made some putts early and got a little momentum," Mahan said. "I hadn't any momentum all week, it felt like. I hadn't done much on the front nine, so it was nice to get out there and get off to a good start and give myself a good chance to play well."
It's not as if the fifth-year pro is unaccustomed to such things. Four times in his career he has shot a 62, including at last year's Barclays. He got his first win on the PGA Tour in 2007 and believed he had a good round in him since landing in Hawaii to play in this winners-only event.
"I felt like I was hitting it good all week," Mahan said. "I just didn't have the feel of these greens. I mean, these greens are Bermuda and they've got a lot of slope, so feel is very important. Today, I just kind of found that. I had a lot of chances on the back nine to make putts -- I just didn't make them."
Weir goes south on last day
Leading after 54 holes hasn't been a good sign for Canadian Mike Weir
Entering today's final 18 holes, he was 1-for-9 in events where he led after three days. Now, he's 1-for-10. The lone win came at the 2004 Nissan Open.
"Yeah, obviously I hit a bad tee shot on No. 1," Weir said of the opening drive that led to a bogey. He shot a 3-under 70 and wound up alone in fourth. "Outside of that, I thought I played pretty well, just got nothing out of it.
"I thought the three-putt on 5 hurt; three-putted No. 5 and then hit a really good drive on No. 6 and it rolled all the way across into a bad lie where I had 60 yards and didn't have a shot. I battled back, but it was a tough start."
Weir will skip this week's Sony Open in Hawaii to return home to Utah, where he is moving into a new house. He had hoped to start the year on a high note by winning this elite tournament, but it didn't work out that way.
"I'm not going to beat myself up," Weir said. "I played well, just a bad start. If I could have made some putts, I could have easily still shot 7 under and maybe been right there."
Inside the numbers
Chopra is the fifth consecutive foreign-born player to win the Mercedes. The other four are Vijay Singh
(2007), Stuart Appleby
(2004-06), Ernie Els
(2003) and Sergio Garcia
(2002). Jim Furyk
is the last American player to win, in 2001. The other two winners since this tournament moved here were also Americans; Tiger Woods
in 2000 and David Duval
The most difficult hole was the par-4 13th with a scoring average of 4.226. There were three birdies, 21 pars, five bogeys and a triple bogey by Steve Flesch. The easiest hole was the par-5 fifth with a scoring average of 4.387. There was one eagle by Boo Weekley, 17 birdies and 13 pars.