Weir edges one ahead at Kapalua with late birdie

Fri Jan 4, 2008 11:56pm EST
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KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Canadian Mike Weir, making the most of calmer weather, holed an 18-foot birdie putt at the last to move one shot clear in the Mercedes-Benz Championship second round on Friday.

Three off the pace at the start of the day, Weir fired a blemish-free six-under-par 67 to take control at the halfway point of the 2008 PGA Tour's opening event.

The former Masters champion rattled up four birdies and an eagle at the par-five ninth for an eight-under total of 138 on the hilly Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort.

Compatriot Stephen Ames also birdied the final hole, ramming in a 23-footer for a matching 67, to share second place with American Jonathan Byrd (69).

Brandt Snedeker, who held the outright lead for much of the day, had to settle for a tie for fourth at six under after three-putting from 17 feet to bogey the last.

Snedeker, the 2007 PGA Tour rookie of the year, returned a 69 to finish level with overnight leader Nick Watney (72).

Weir, who qualified for the winners-only event with victory at the Arizona Open last October, took advantage of improving weather at Kapalua after a blustery and wet opening round.

"The winds weren't as strong and that makes all the difference in the world out here," the 2003 Masters champion told reporters.

"The course is still a little damp but early on the front nine, with the sun out, it was drying out a little bit and did play easier today."   Continued...

<p>Mike Weir of Canada drives off of the third hole during the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii, January 3, 2008. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry</p>