Unable to bomb the ball, Furyk picking his spots to attack


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have bashed their way to the top of the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.

That’s never been said about Jim Furyk, of course, and it certainly wasn’t the case Friday at Valhalla, after more than an inch of rain made the longest par-71 course in PGA history play even longer.

 Unlike McIlroy (-9) and Day (-8), who have averaged more than 310 yards off the tee through two rounds, Furyk (-8) says he can rarely be aggressive on this track.

On Friday, he sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the long par-3 third, but he knocked a wedge shot close for birdie on No. 4, then rolled in a 25-foot putt on the par-5 seventh after leaving nearly 170 yards for his third shot. On No. 17, Furyk rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt, then got up and down from left of 18 green to shoot 68.

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Through 36 holes, Furyk is ranked in the top 11 in both fairways and greens hit.

“The design of the golf course is severe,” he said, “and I think what I’ve done really well to this point is be real patient. I’ve really picked and chosen the spots where I could be aggressive. I’ve taken advantage of some short irons in my hand and made some putts. I think that’s why I’m sitting in the position I’m in.”

A position that’s becoming more and more familiar.

Since mid-March, Furyk has finished outside the top 20 just once, with three runner-up finishes. Most agonizing was the Canadian Open, where the 44-year-old kicked away a three-shot lead on the final day.

He hasn’t won a major since 2003, but Furyk is in the top five through 36 holes for the sixth time since 2010. The only player in that span with more appearances: McIlroy, with seven.