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Jim Furyk targets third straight Canadian title

Jim Furyk has his sights set high at rain-soaked Glen Abbey in his bid for a third straight Canadian Open title.

Coming off a fifth-place tie in the bump-and-run British Open at windswept Royal Birkdale, Furyk has adjusted his ball flight skyward to take advantage of the soft conditions on the course saturated by nearly 8 inches of rain in five days.

“This is definitely a golf course where you want to bring the ball in high into a lot of these greens, coming off a week where I didn’t hit it higher than about head high for four days,” Furyk said Wednesday before the latest round of heavy rain left the scheduled 7 a.m. Thursday start in jeopardy. “So it’s different, but I just want to slowly get my feel and my rhythm back and get the ball in the air.”

Stephen Ames also is looking up after tying for seventh at Royal Birkdale.

“I’ve gone from a 10-foot high ball flight to a 120-foot high ball flight,” said Ames, a naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad & Tobago.

At No. 10 in the world ranking, Furyk is the top player in the national championship hampered by a difficult schedule spot after the British Open and before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. While Furyk plans to play all four events, Canadian star Mike Weir is skipping the WGC event next week at Firestone to give himself a break before the PGA Championship.

Weir is back at Glen Abbey for the first time since a playoff loss to Vijay Singh in 2004. The 2003 Masters champion is making his 18th appearance in the tournament. He missed the cut in his first nine starts—eight at Glen Abbey and one at Royal Montreal—and failed to advance to weekend play in 2005 and 2006.

“I finally played the golf course well,” Weir said. “I never played very well here at all and I finally figured out a way to score around here. I do feel more comfortable around this golf course than in years past. … When I first started playing here I wasn’t very good. I was struggling on the Canadian Tour.”

Weir, Ames and the 17 other Canadians in the field are trying to become the first home winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

“The player who does the best this week and wins is going to be driving it in the fairway, because the rough is thick and, with it being wet, you’re not going to bounce it very far,” Weir said. “So the key is to keep that ball in the fairway.”

Furyk won in 2006 at Hamilton and successfully defended his title last year at Angus Glen for the last of his 13 PGA Tour titles.

“It’s interesting coming back to an event where you’ve won and it’s on a different golf course,” Furyk said. “You lose the warm, fuzzy feeling.”

Furyk’s left wrist was taped Wednesday as a precaution. He had arthroscopic surgery on the wrist in 2004 to repair cartilage damage.

“My wrist was just a little sore yesterday,” Furyk said. “Why? I don’t know whether it was from the hard ground last week or the flight coming back. Sometimes you get some inflammation and such. It’s an old injury.

“It was real tender yesterday and bothering me, so I decided not to push it and kind of take the day off, just kind of chipped and putted a little. It felt great today. It didn’t bother me a bit.”

July 24, 2008

 




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