Originally created 05/24/04

Weibring wins another Midwest tournament



WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- From start to finish, it was another successful trip to the Midwest for D.A. Weibring.

Weibring celebrated his return to the Midwest by shooting an even-par 71 in blustery, overcast conditions Sunday to win the Allianz Championship by three strokes.

The Quincy, Ill., native survived an early double bogey and challenges by Tom Watson and Tom Kite to win for the second time on the Champions Tour. His fifth victory in the Midwest was worth $225,000 and came two days short of his 51st birthday.

He led after all three rounds and finished at 9-under 204, the fifth time he has been in the top 10 in his last six tournaments.

"You know you're going to have ups and downs," said Weibring, who plunked his tee shot on the second hole in the water. "You've just got to keep yourself moving forward. I just tried to keep moving forward and hitting good shots."

Weibring hit a bunch of them over the last three days.

And it should be no surprise that he played well in the Midwest. Four of Weibring's five victories on the PGA Tour came in his home state - three in the Quad Cities tournament near Moline, Ill., and one in the Western Open outside Chicago.

"It's always fun to come back here and play on bent grass greens in the Midwest," Weibring said.

Tom Jenkins closed with a 70 to finish at 6 under. Watson was next at 5 under after an up-and-down 71 - an eagle, three birdies and five bogeys. Kite had a 72 to finish 4 under.

With his double bogey on No. 2 and a bogey on 4, Weibring could have had a disastrous round. But he recovered each time, first by hitting a 6-iron to the No. 3 green that left him a 6-foot putt, which he made for birdie.

"That was critical if anybody was watching the scoreboard," Weibring said. "It was going to be a tough day, but I wasn't going to go away."

Weibring sank an 8-footer for a birdie on No. 5 and played mistake-free from then on, securing his victory with a nice approach to 6 feet on No. 15. He rolled in the putt for birdie and a four-stroke lead.

After that, he could cruise.

"He wasn't giving any shots back and it was very difficult to make birdies out there," said Jenkins, who charged into second place with three straight birdies on the back nine. "I could have birdied in from 14 and still would have been short."

Kite pulled to within a stroke of the lead with a birdie on 9. But Weibring quickly went up by two with a birdie on 10 after sticking a 5-iron from 179 yards into the wind to about 2 feet, and Kite faltered down the stretch. His birdie putt curved left from 6 feet on No. 11, he missed a 4-footer for par on 13 and bogeyed the last two holes.

Watson trailed by just two strokes after an eagle on No. 9 dropped him to 6 under. But he, too, had problems on the green on the back nine.

A birdie putt that would have gotten him within one stroke of the lead lipped out on No. 11, he missed a 3-footer for par on 12 and three-putted for bogey on 14 to fall out of contention.

"That hurts when you miss those short putts," said Watson, who also missed a pair of 3-footers on the front nine. "That was the problem with my game this week. I didn't make enough of those putts."

Bobby Walzel started the day at 8 under and one off the lead, but his game fell apart quickly on with three double bogeys in his first eight holes. He soared to an 80 to finish 1 over.

Walzel, who had prostate cancer surgery in 2002, admitted he'd be nervous playing in the final group and it showed. He made double bogey on No. 2 after hitting into the water, made another on No. 3 and did it a third time after hitting his tee shot into the tall grass on 8.

Divots: Raymond Floyd had seven birdies in a 66, the best round of the day and his best of the year. The 61-year-old veteran finished the tournament at 4 under ... Weibring has had only one round over par in his last 18 ... Kite just missed a hole-in-one on No. 16 when his tee shot grazed the pin and rolled past. Reflecting his inconsistent round, he missed the easy putt for birdie.