Kevin Currie - Golf Editor Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you thought Jim Furyk looked a little haggard recently, there is good reason for that. He had been playing good golf, but not getting the results he wanted.
Furyk had gone over four full seasons without a victory. His last title was his third win of the 2010 season, and that came at the Tour Championship. Since then, he tallied 31 top-10 finishes, including seven runner-ups.
The 2003 U.S. Open champion had been especially bad with the third-round lead. After starting his career with nine wins in his first 17 54-hole leads, Furyk had failed to hold his last nine 54-hole leads.
In those nine losses, Furyk had been outscored 70.7-65.3 by the eventual champion in the final round. That monkey is still on his back, but he got one monkey off his back on Sunday.
Furyk turned the tables on third-round leader Troy Merritt at the RBC Heritage. Merritt carded a respectable 2-under 69, but Furyk fired an 8-under 63. That was good enough to get him into a playoff after Kevin Kisner shot 64 in the final round to also post 18-under-par 266.
In the extra session, Furyk hit two stellar iron shots, but Kisner didn't relent. Kisner drained a 17-footer for birdie on No. 18, the first playoff hole, and that forced Furyk to make his 8-foot birdie putt.
Furyk did just that. Then he dropped his tee shot at the par-3 17th within 12 feet. Kisner's tee ball stopped some 20 feet short of the hole, and he failed to convert his birdie try. Furyk didn't miss.
He drained his 11th birdie of the day to break his long winless drought.
"It's been a little over four-and-a-half (years), to be exact. I'm well aware. I had to talk about it a lot over those years. And I think that dropping the putt and getting excited on 17, there was a lot of pent-up frustration," Furyk said of his screaming reaction to draining the winning putt on Sunday.
Furyk had more than one reason to pack it in and go home, too. His record in those situations wasn't the best, and he had plenty of other stuff on his mind.
The 44-year-old had to beeline it back to Florida as fast as he could to co- host an event for his foundation that kicked off with a Sunday night concert, and was followed by a Monday golf outing.
Furyk managed to block that out and focus on the task at hand. It helped that he had played with Kisner in the third round, so he knew what to expect in the playoff.
"I played with Kevin (on Saturday) and I really was impressed with his game. Any time he got in a little trouble or needed to hit a good shot, I felt like he did," Furyk said. "I really believed that looking up at the board he would birdie 17 or 18 coming in, and that there probably was going to be a playoff. And my playoff record pretty much, I can sum up and say, it sucks."
With the win, Furyk improved to 4-8 in playoffs. Now that Furyk has gotten back to his winning ways, the next step is breaking through again when he has the 54-hole lead.
Furyk doesn't want to talk about that streak right now. He won't have to until he's in that position again. Having won at Harbour Town, Furyk is hoping that time comes sooner rather than later so he can snap that streak, too.
KIM'S WALKOFF SPECTACULAR
Sei Young Kim is off to a stellar start to her rookie campaign on the LPGA Tour. With four top-six finishes in six starts, Kim has herself in contention for player of the year honors.
Kim won her second start of the season, which was the eighth event of her LPGA Tour career. In her first six LPGA starts in 2013 and 2014, Kim had five under-par rounds. She carded four such rounds en route to victory in the Bahamas.
In her next five starts, 15 of her 20 rounds were also under par. Kim opened the LOTTE Championship with a pair of 67s and a 2-under 70 in the third round. For the second straight tournament, Kim failed to break par in the final round.
However, it was rather breezy in the final round in Hawaii and just 14 of the 71 players who made the cut broke par on Saturday's final round.
Kim's 73 was enough to get her into a playoff, but it was her 70th and 73rd shots that were dynamically different. Her 70th shot, the tee shot at 18, looked perfect, but took a hard bounce and ran through the fairway and into the water. After a drop, she missed the green with her third shot.
The 73rd shot was really good, and her 75th was even better. With her 73rd shot, Kim chipped in for par to force a playoff with world No. 2 Inbee Park.
They headed back to the 18th for a playoff. Both players found the fairway off the tee. Kim's 75th shot barely cleared the water, but then took two bounces and dropped into the hole for an improbable eagle.
A stunned Park had a chance to match, but didn't come close.
Kim now tops the money list as well as the player of the year and the rookie of the year points lists.
That is a pretty remarkable turnaround for a player who didn't break 70 in 16 rounds on the LPGA in 2014. But if you look at Kim's record on the Korean LPGA Tour, where she won five times in 2013 and 2014, you may have been able to predict it.
* There are plenty of stories about golfers being disqualified for different reasons, but this one might take the cake. Edoardo Molinari was disqualified from the Shenzhen International because his caddie rode a cart from the ninth green to the 10th tee. That cart ride meant a 2-stroke penalty for Molinari, but he was unaware that his caddie took the ride. Therefore, Molinari signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified. His looper took the wrong method in trying to maintain the middle part of the caddie credo, "Show up, keep up, shut up."
* Tommy Fleetwood's third-place finish at the Shenzhen International was big. That helped the 34-year-old Englishman jump 11 spots to No. 55 in this week's world rankings. Monday was the cut-off as the top 64 qualify for next week's WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship. Thomas Bjorn, who missed two cuts and withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship in his last three starts, was the player bumped from the top 64. Bjorn, who didn't play this past weekend, fell from 63 to 68.