LOS ANGELES – Considering his much analyzed statistic of failing to convert each of his last nine 54-hole leads – including one just last week – you might think Jim Furyk would his enjoy his position at T-7 on the Northern Trust Open leaderboard entering the final round.
You’d be wrong.
Following a third-round 68, Furyk will go into Sunday trailing leader Retief Goosen by four shots. He’d prefer it was the other way around.
“I don’t mind the lead; I really don’t,” Furyk explained. “I don’t care if I’m the target. I realize that I didn’t hold the lead last week and it’s been a while since I have held a lead, but I don’t mind that role at all. I like having a lead, I like being out in front. Ultimately, there’s going to be a winning score. When you have the lead going into Sunday, you just have to shoot that much less under.
“I’ll relish it, but by no means am I uncomfortable holding the lead. That’s a situation I’d prefer to be in.”
Furyk’s last win came at the 2010 Tour Championship, but he maintains that he’d rather continue coming close than not being in the hunt at all.
“I much prefer to get in the hunt and finish second or third than finish 15th. I promise you that. But it’s that little taste of honey when you get so close and don’t get over the hump and win that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. It leaves you hungry. It’s definitely a bitter pill to swallow. But if my other choice was to finish 20th and never be in the hunt, I’d take the first one every time. I’m not happy about not winning, but it sure beats the hell out of playing [badly].”