Minus the playoff beard, Weir ties course record at TPC Boston

NORTON, Mass. -- It's little wonder Mike Weir felt relaxed as he tied both the course record and the mark for best round on the PGA Tour this year after shooting a 10-under-par 61 at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday.

After all, the Canadian recently survived a potentially dangerous encounter involving his young daughters and some razor blades.

Weir, who needed just 21 putts Friday, had gained some notoriety recently in a FedEx Cup Playoffs commercial with Wayne Gretzky. In it, he sported a Grizzly Adams-esque playoff beard. To complement his starring role, he followed that up with a real-life beard the past two weeks, only to enter this tournament clean-shaven.

"When they didn't want to give me a kiss or anything, I said, well, it's got to be gone," said Weir, who made the most of low winds and soft greens early in his round to race out to a front-nine score of 30. "I got them each a razor and they took off the beard for me and they each started hacking away. I finished it off, but I let them do the first couple strokes."

Weir, meanwhile, finished off his opening round by nearly breaking the course record set by Vijay Singh in 2006.

After a wide approach shot on the par-518 that left him 59 feet from the hole, Weir nearly drained a putt that would have made the crowd at TPC Boston delirious.

"My low score on tour is 10 under," Weir said of his first-round result at the 2001 Genuity Championship. "I wasn't thinking the number of 62. I was just thinking 10 under. If I shoot 11 under, that would be my lowest ever.

"I really just wanted to get focused on that stick. Instead of concentrating on trying to lag it down there, I wanted to concentrate on making that thing, and I almost did."

In the end, he set a new competitive personal-best score of 61.

Weir came roaring off the 18th tee with a 315-yard shot that found the fairway. He then had to wait as playing partner J.B. Holmes hit a wayward tee shot that ended up left of the cart path. Weir's subsequent approach shot with a 5-iron from 205 yards went wide left to make the task of a 60 that much more difficult.

"I thought I was really going to hit a little better shot than that," Weir said. "... I thought I'd aim it about 20 feet left of the hole and it would draw right in off that lie, and I didn't want to do anything with it except let the slope dictate that shot. I was surprised that it kind of came out straight, and the wind was blowing right to left and it just drifted on the wind."

Weir said he had no indication on the practice green that he was in store for a career day. However, it didn't take long once he started to realize he was in for a special round.

He birdied seven of the first 10 holes and finished with 15 one-putts. He was 17-for-18 inside 20 feet and even technically one-putted on that exciting 18th hole because his putt came from the fringe.

"It was one of those days where ... after making those putts, everything seemed to look easier to me or something. It's tough to explain, but I just tried to stay in that frame of mind when I got on the green, just remembering the last putt, just remember the last one, how that felt, and try to do the same thing. I did that all the way around."

Friday's opening round marked just the second time this season that Weir has opened a tournament with a round under 70. Weir said he has made a point of getting out to a better start in recent tournaments.

"It seems like I've been coming from behind all the way," said Weir, who found himself in such a position in June at the Memorial before ultimately finishing in a four-way tie for second.

"Obviously, this was way exceeding my expectations, but I just wanted to get to off a solid start, and once I did that at the start of the round today, I just wanted to keep that going."

Chad Capellman is a freelance writer based in Boston.