Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 09/14/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With a shot at golf's magic number, Jim Furyk had no trouble finishing the job.
Furyk birdied two of his last three holes Friday in the BMW Championship to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59. Needing a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole at Conway Farms, he stuffed a gap wedge into just over three feet and calmly knocked it in.
"A very cool card," Furyk said as he gazed at the scores, which included an eagle when he holed out with a 9-iron.
It was a day he won't forget, in the same town -- the Chicago suburbs, anyway -- where he won his lone major at the U.S. Open in 2003.
Standing in the ninth fairway at Conway Farms, 103 yards from a front pin, Furyk didn't want to let his chance get away from him.
"I said, 'How many opportunities are you going to have in life to do this again?' " he said. "Got to take advantage of it. Tried to knock it in there tight and make it as easy on yourself as you can."
The gallery lined both sides of the fairway about 150 yards down from the green and gave him a huge ovation when he walked onto the green. One fan screamed out, "Jimmy, I'll give it to you!" Furyk smiled and waved at him.
He made the putt and repeatedly pumped his fist, turning for the gallery in the grandstands to see, and then he hugged caddie Mike (Fluff) Cowan and tapped him on the head. It looked like a Sunday afternoon, and had the occasion of a winning putt.
"I guess the moment kind of struck me the most at No. 9 when I hit it the wedge shot in there close, and the crowd erupted and I started looking around and it just hit me how many people had come over to that side to see the finish and how excited the crowd was," Furyk said. "It was kind of like winning a golf tournament to be honest with you. It made it that much more fun."
There's work left for the trophy. Furyk was tied for the lead with Brandt Snedeker, who was nine shots clear of Furyk at the start of the second round and shot 68. Snedeker knew Furyk was closing in on the lead. He just didn't realize Furyk had opened with a 72 and was on his way to a piece of history. That changed when Snedeker saw a video board as he was finishing on No. 18 that Furyk needed a birdie on No. 9 for a 59.
"I thought, 'What the heck? Are you serious? There's no way," Snedeker said. "On a day like this when the wind is blowing 20 mph out of the north, I don't think anybody out here saw that score coming."
The next best score in the second round was a 65 by Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker.
Zach Johnson was alone in third after a 70, three shots behind. No one else was closer than five shots.
Tiger Woods thought he finished with a 70 to be five back, only to be given a two-shot penalty when video showed his ball moved while he was removing twigs around it on the first hole. That gave him a quadruple-bogey 8 on the opening hole and a 72, leaving him seven shots behind -- and paired with Sergio Garcia in the third round.
It was the first 59 on the PGA Tour since Stuart Appleby in the final round of The Greenbrier Classic in 2010. The others with a 59 were Al Geiberger in the 1977 Memphis Classic; Chip Beck in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational; David Duval in the 1999 Bob Hope Classic; and Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic.
"There's not much I could have improved on today," Furyk said. Furyk signed his glove with "59" and the date beneath his signature for the World Golf Hall of Fame. He signed leftover golf balls for the volunteers helping his group. And then, he reached into his pocket and pulled out another golf ball.
"That's the one that went in on 9," he said with a grin. "And it's staying with me."
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2013 C8
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