- Associated Press - Friday, July 30, 2010

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.VA. (AP) - Boo Weekley’s bum shoulder is improving and the self-proclaimed redneck has put down the fishing pole, hoping it might lead to a win at a tournament not named the Heritage.

Weekley equaled his best round of the year with a 7-under 63 on Friday on the Old White course to vault into second place, four strokes behind leader Jeff Overton, midway through the inaugural Greenbrier Classic.

Weekley hit 17 greens in regulation and had seven birdies during a bogey-free morning round for a two-day total of 10 under.

“I’m excited to play again,” Weekley said. “Feels like I can actually come out and compete and don’t have to take a bunch of (pain relievers) or nothing where I can play.”

The Greenbrier’s policy of jackets required for its finer restaurants and $80 million underground casino might not suit Weekley’s folksy lifestyle, but the Southerner admits feeling at home among the local fans, who consider him one of their own.

Weekley remembers fans rallying behind him when he played in several Nationwide Tour events in Bridgeport about 3 hours to the north, although he feels West Virginia owes him one after he lost in a playoff in 2006.

“It would be nice if my stars line up,” he said.

The avid fisherman and hunter no longer packs the tackle box along with his clubs. Trout-stocked Howard’s Creek runs throughout The Greenbrier, including in front of the first and 18th tees, but Weekley isn’t giving in to the temptation.

“I put all my stuff up when I come to tournaments now,” Weekley said. “I just mostly focus on golf and do my job and be done with it.”

Weekley couldn’t focus much after tearing a labrum in his left shoulder last year at the TPC Sawgrass. He stopped playing for more than a month and was left with a limited range of motion.

“It’s been kind of aggravated like a thorn in me,” he said. “Just feel like you can’t take it back some days, and some days don’t feel like I can come through the ball.”

Weekley was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that beat Europe in 2008 but was ranked No. 172 in the world this week with only three top 10s in the last two years. His only two tour wins were at the 2007 and 2008 Heritage.

After the injury he lost 20 pounds and started feeling better about his game only three weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, when he finished 21st.

He said his shoulder is to the point “where I feel like I can actually swing the club and not have the hesitation at it.”

Old White’s length and lack of deep rough have led to an assault on the pins, and rains that softened the greens earlier in the week have made solid scoring even more possible.

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