Furyk Still Ahead Thanks to Eagle


HARRISON, N.Y. -- Jim Furyk posted a 2-under 69 on Friday to remain atop the leaderboard after 36 holes of the Barclays Classic. He stands at 8-under-par 134 and leads by one over Brian Gay at Westchester Country Club.
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk is seeking his first tour win since the 2003 Buick Open.
Padraig Harrington (65), Len Mattiace (65), Kenny Perry (68), John Senden (67) and Hidemichi Tanaka (68) are knotted in third place at 6-under-par 136. Kevin Sutherland is alone in eighth place at minus-4 after a second-round 68.
Furyk began his second round on the back nine and parred his first five holes. He tried to cut a driver around the trees at 15, but struck one and fell backward. Furyk hit a low slice in front of the green, but took three to get in the hole and left with bogey.
At the par-5 18th, Furyk laid up with his second, then hit a wedge to 6 feet to set up birdie. He hit an 8-iron 18 feet from the flag at the third, then rolled that in for a birdie.
The remaining holes were quite interesting for Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion. He parred four, then missed a 3-footer for birdie at No. 5. It was another missed opportunity at 6 when his 12-foot birdie putt did not fall.
Things got worse for Furyk on the par-4 seventh. His drive did not roll far enough past the tress and he hit a branch with his second. Furyk managed to get his third on to the green, but the ball rolled back off the putting surface. He chipped his fourth 10 feet past the hole and Furyk holed the breaking putt to save bogey.
Furyk hit a good drive at eight that cleared the trees, but had a decision as to go with an 8- or 9-iron. His caddie talked him into a soft 8-iron and the decision paid off, as Furyk's ball landed, rolled a few feet and fell into the cup for an eagle.
He parred No. 9 to polish off his wild finish and his round of 69.
'I had kind of a wild ride there,' said Furyk. 'I kind of flipped back and forth there a bunch those last few holes. Had some opportunities that I wasted, hit some great shots that went in the hole; so it was kind of an exciting finish.'
After Furyk opened with a 6-under 65 on Thursday, he remained cautious about having an 18-hole lead. His lead is down to one, but the four-time Ryder Cupper is more comfortable on Friday.
'It is a good feeling after coming off a good round yesterday,' said Furyk. 'I separated myself from the field a little bit. I am happy with the position I am in. I played well the first two days and tried to put myself in a good position.'
Gay also played the back nine first on Friday and his first drive landed in a divot on the fairway. He knocked a pitching-wedge 15 feet below the hole and ran home the birdie putt.
He dropped a shot at 13 when his ball ran through the green. Gay collected a pair of birdies at 15 and 17, both from inside 7 feet, to make the turn at 2-under 33.
Gay played even par through the first four holes, then caught fire late in his round. At the par-5 fifth, Gay laid up, then hit a wedge to 10 feet to set up birdie. He made it two in a row with a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-3 sixth.
Gay got within one of the lead at the par-5 ninth. He reached the green in two and lipped out his eagle try. Gay tapped in for birdie and sole possession of second place.
'It just feels good to play well,' admitted Gay, who has only two top-25s and eight missed cuts in 2005. 'It's always good to be in a position to have a chance, and hopefully I'll have a good weekend and just continue to play smart. I don't know what to say besides that.'
Vijay Singh, a two-time winner of this event, struggled to an even-par 71 on Friday and is tied for ninth place with Tom Pernice, Jr., who shot a second-round 69. The duo is tied at 3-under-par 139.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia carded an even-par 71 and is part of a group tied for 33rd place at 1-over-par 143.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over-par 145 and among the notable players who will not be around on the weekend are 2002 winner Chris Smith (146), Jay Haas (147) and Fred Couples (147).
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