LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The difference in styles was striking, but the leaderboard told the real story:
Jim Furyk, 59.
Gary Woodland, 72.
A day later, it’s one of the many aspects of Furyk’s historic round that lingers still.
On some holes Friday, the 43-year-old Furyk was outdriven by fellow playing competitor Woodland, 29, by more than 60 yards. But it rarely mattered, not when Furyk was so dialed in with his wedges on his way to shooting just the sixth sub-60 score in PGA Tour history.
Take the short par-4 seventh at Conway Farms, the group’s 16th hole of the day.
At 327 yards, it was reachable for Woodland, who pounded driver through the back of the green. Not surprisingly, Furyk, who is averaging a field-worst 260.9 yards off the tee, opted for a more conservative approach. He laid well back with an iron, leaving himself 122 yards for his second shot. Furyk then spun his approach to within 11 feet and made the putt, while Woodland played a beautiful pitch from over the back but missed the 4-footer for birdie.
For the day, Furyk carded 11 birdies and an eagle, hit every fairway and all but one green, and needed to make only three putts longer than 12 feet.
“It was just controlling your golf ball,” Woodland said, when asked what he could learn from Furyk’s game. “He landed his ball exactly where he had to land it. He was in complete control of the ball. He managed that golf course as well as I’ve ever seen.”
Making Furyk’s 59 even more impressive was this: He was six shots better than the next-best score, and the scoring average for the second round was 71.086. That nearly 12.1-stroke difference was second-best among the six players who have shot a sub-60 score on Tour: Al Geiberger (13.0), Chip Beck (10.5), David Duval (10.7), Paul Goydos (10.5) and Stuart Appleby (8.6).