Furyk captures first win since 2007|
Palm Harbor, FL (Sports Network) - Jim Furyk captured his first win since
2007, shooting a two-under 69 in the final round of the Transitions
Championship on Sunday to beat K.J. Choi by a stroke.
Leading by two shots, Furyk nearly blew it.
He needed an eight-foot putt to save par at the 17th after hitting into a
bunker. At the 18th, he drove into the trees, hit a wild second shot into the
rough and clinched the win with a two-putt bogey from 26 feet.
Playing in the same group, Choi closed with a par after also struggling on the
Furyk finished at 13-under 271. The 39-year-old was quick to joke how he
"leaked oil" down the stretch.
"I have a habit of making it tough on myself. The only win I ever made easy on
myself was the U.S. Open. But other than that, my family likes to say I always
make it interesting," said Furyk, who won $972,000.
The 2003 U.S. Open winner secured his 14th PGA Tour win overall and first
since the 2007 Canadian Open.
Choi pushed Furyk throughout the round, making four birdies early on to tie
him for the lead. But he ended a shot back at 12-under 272 after closing with
his second straight 67.
The 39-year-old South Korean won this tournament twice, in 2002 and '06.
"All I can say is I tried my best today," said Choi. "My shots felt great. You
know, my hat is off to Jim, because he just played fantastic. I tried to put
some pressure early in the round with some birdies, but he was patient enough
to hang in there and play well."
Bubba Watson (68) took third place at 11-under 273, Nick Watney (67) finished
fourth at 275 and 2009 winner Retief Goosen (71) was fifth at 276.
Two weather delays totaling nearly five hours pushed the final round back. The
start was delayed 75 minutes because of inclement weather and there was a
second delay that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours until players were let back on
the course at 2:45 p.m. (et).
Furyk waited more than five hours to hit his first tee shot, which led to a
two-foot birdie putt on No. 1 to maintain his three-shot overnight lead. He
protected his advantage again with a birdie on No. 3 after Choi holed a
monster 58-footer on the same hole.
Furyk missed a six-foot par putt as the wind picked up on the No. 4 green and
Choi pulled within one stroke when he birdied the longest hole on the course,
the 600-yard fifth.
Choi finally tied Furyk for the lead with a nine-foot birdie putt at the
sixth, but it was a short-lived deadlock.
There was a two-shot swing at No. 8 when Furyk made a 23-foot birdie putt and
Choi missed a six-footer for par. Furyk moved ahead by three shots again with
a birdie at the 10th.
Choi and Watson both climbed within two shots through 11 holes, but Furyk
found some relief when he rolled in a 33-foot birdie putt at the 12th hole
to extend his lead back to three shots.
Furyk was too strong with a five-foot par putt at the 13th, taking a bogey,
but he made that shot up with a birdie on the next hole. He bogeyed the 15th
as well, but by then Choi and Watson had stopped pushing.
Neither player made a birdie after the 11th hole.
"I played good but it's hard catching somebody that's all three-up or so
starting the day," said Watson.
Hoping to rid himself of the longest winning drought of his PGA Tour career,
Furyk saved par on 17, but then made a mess of the final hole. After driving
it into the native area, his second shot nearly struck NBC's Roger Maltbie,
who told Furyk afterward: "That's as fast as I've moved in years."
"In hindsight it was a pretty stupid shot," Furyk said. "I was just trying to
get up there, make sure I cleared the bunker and get it up there on the right
where I had a really easy pitch shot."
Choi said the ball nearly hit him as well, whizzing by just in front of him.
"I thought it was a moon passing by," Choi said.
Nope. Just the winner playing through.
NOTES: Choi entered the week ranked 75th in the world, but will probably move
into the top 50 for a berth in next month's Masters...Since winning for the
first time in 1995, Furyk had never gone more than one season without a
victory until 2008-09.
03/21 21:11:29 ET