Furyk birdies 18 to shoot 59 at BMW Championship

By Doug FergusonSeptember 13, 2013, 10:27 pm

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 3 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.


BMW Championship: Articles, videos and photos


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.

For a change, everything went right at the end. Furyk has been haunted in the last two years with a bogey on the 16th hole that cost him a shot at the 2012 U.S. Open, a double bogey at Firestone last year that kept him from winning a World Golf Championship, a bogey-bogey finish in the Ryder Cup to lose a key match to Garcia last year in Chicago, and a one-shot lead he failed to hold just last month at the PGA Championship.

Making it worse, he was left off a U.S. team for the first time in 15 years when Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples did not make him a wild-card selection. On this day, Furyk gave Couples 59 reasons to reconsider.

Furyk described himself as ''grouchy'' on Thursday after having breakfast with two friends, Steve Stricker and Johnson, who were talking about the Presidents Cup.

''But I felt like last night I kind of kicked myself in the rear end and said, 'You know, it's done with. It's over with. There's nothing I can do to change it now. It's over and let's just focus on this week.'''

Furyk was striking the ball so well in the windy conditions – he hit every fairway and missed only one green – that he made only three putts longer than 12 feet, including a 15-foot par putt on the 16th hole. He opened with three straight birdies, holed out from the fairway on the 15th for an eagle, finished with two birdies and had a 28 on his card.

Furyk realized a 4 under on the front nine would give him that magic number. It looked promising when he rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the third, and his 4-iron on the fourth hole bounced toward the flag and settled 5 feet away. He was 11 under through 13 holes, needing one more birdie.

And then he three-putted for bogey from 30 feet.

The key to his round might have come at No. 7, when he holed a birdie putt from just inside 12 feet to get back to 11 under.

Two holes, one birdie, and a 59. Even in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the math was that simple. And he knew with a par 5 at the eighth and a front pin on the ninth, he would have two good chances. He came up short of the green on No. 8 and made par, and then played the ninth to perfection.

Brian Davis, who had finished an hour earlier, came back to the ninth green to watch Furyk finish. Johnson finished when Furyk still had two holes to play and was told about his bid for 59.

''He's on No. 8 to go to 59? I don't have anything to say about that. That is ridiculous,'' Johnson 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.''

Getty Images

DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

Getty Images

Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Getty Images

Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.