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New winner Boo Weekley a draw in New Orleans

American Boo Weekley, who claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory on Monday, is one of the drawcards at this week's New Orleans Classic in Avondale, Louisiana.

The 33-year-old Florida resident held off world number five Ernie Els with dramatic chip-ins to save par on the last two holes of the Heritage Classic in South Carolina.

Weekley's presence at the Tournament Players Club of Louisiana is a welcome boost for organizers who have world number 19 David Toms as the only member of the top 20 in their field.

"It always helps to have a player who's hot," tournament director Tommy Fonseca told the Times-Picayune newspaper on Tuesday.

"It only deepens the quality of our field. He's popular, especially with people in this area, being a Southern gentleman."

Other notable players include 1989 British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia, U.S. Ryder Cup team mates Chris DiMarco and Lucas Glover, Bob Hope Classic winner Charley Hoffman and Swede Jesper Parnevik.

Perhaps the biggest point of interest this week is that the TPC Louisiana returns to host the tournament for a second time, only 19 months after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

More than 2,000 trees were destroyed on the Pete Dye-designed course which has since undergone extensive repairs and restoration. The nearby English Turn Golf and Country Club staged the New Orleans Classic last year for a 17th time.

"I'm proud of the fact we're able to host the Zurich Classic here again. That's the biggest accomplishment," Steve Wenzloff, vice president of design services for the Tour, told the Times-Picayune.

"To have the tournament back here and see the golf course improving with every hour that goes by is the biggest satisfaction for me. After Katrina it was pretty devastating to look down the first hole and see nothing but debris and water everywhere."

American Chris Couch, who chipped in from 50-feet to save par on the final hole and clinch his maiden Tour victory at English Turn last year, is back this week to defend his title.

The $6.1 million tournament starts on Thursday.

 

 




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