Jim Furyk: Close but no cigar again at the PGA
PITTSFORD, New York (AP) — The pose was a familiar one for Jim Furyk — buckled over as if he’d taken a punch in the stomach, barely able to watch the flight of the ball.
The ending felt achingly similar, too — denied in another major championship.
Furyk came up two shots shy of Jason Dufner in the PGA Championship, unable to mount any sort of charge coming down the stretch on a warm, sunny Sunday at Oak Hill.
Dufner seized control just before the turn. His playing partner in the final group never punched back, the agony apparent in his mannerisms as all hope slipped away on the last two holes.
“I wish I could’ve put some heat on him,” Furyk said. “I wish I had made him work harder those last two holes.”
Even with a bogey-bogey finish, Dufner redeemed himself for throwing away a four-stroke lead at the 2011 PGA in Atlanta, where he lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff.
Furyk felt the sting of another close call on the Grand Slam stage.
This was the second time in a little over a year that he has had a second major title in his grasp. Last summer at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, he bogeyed two of the last three holes and finished two strokes behind Webb Simpson.
“I’ve had some chances to close it out, and I wasn’t able to get it done,” Furyk said. “But I guess it’s days like this that will make the next one sweeter.”
At least he’s got a major championship on his resume, though it’s been 10 long years since his victory in the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.
At 43, Furyk still feels as if he has the game to win another.
“I don’t look at it as if I lost the golf tournament,” he said. “I look at it as I got beat by somebody who played better than me.”
Certainly, Furyk has plenty of experience dealing with disappointment.
There was the 1998 Masters, where he dumped one in the water on the 15th hole and lost to Mark O’Meara by two strokes. That same year at Royal Birkdale, it was the same result in the British Open — O’Meara the winner, Furyk two shots behind. While the 2006 U.S. Open is remembered for Phil Mickelson’s epic meltdown on the 72nd hole, Furyk also wound up a shot behind winner Geoff Ogilvy after missing a 5-footer to save par on No. 18. The next year at Oakmont, Furyk was one shot shy again to Angel Cabrera, needing a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff but only managing par.
Now, another runner-up finish.
“On one hand, yeah, I’m disappointed,” Furyk said. “But I’m kind of re-energized right now. I’m playing well and enjoy playing golf.”
Certainly, this one was easier to take than what happened at Olympic.
“I felt like I lost that tournament,” Furyk said. “I felt like it was my tournament to win, and I wasn’t able to do it.
“Today,” he went on, “I feel like I got beat. I didn’t beat myself, I don’t think.”
That said, there were some shots Furyk would like to have back.
Down a stroke heading to the ninth hole, he knocked his drive in the middle of the fairway but got caught between clubs, didn’t make a good swing with the 6-iron, and left his ball short and right of the green, in a patch of thick rough. Dufner deftly got up-and-down for a par. Furyk, who thought he might pick up a shot, would up with a bogey and instead lost more ground.
He never got any closer.
While Dufner struggled with his putter, which kept him from extending his lead, Furyk wasted birdie chances at the 13th and 14th. He had wedges to the green but couldn’t get it close enough to make the putts. Then, when he absolutely had to have a birdie in the last two holes, he wound up with a pair of bogeys, his chances essentially snuffed out when he needed two swings to escape the rough alongside the 17th green.
Furyk wound up shooting 1-over 71 — his worst round of the week after three straight in the 60s. He finished at 8-under 272, remaining two shots behind Dufner all the way to the end.
“I could have put some serious heat on him,” Furyk said. “I wasn’t able to do so. I could never close that two-shot gap.”
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