Furyk holds on for first
Jim Furyk survived dropped
shots at the last two holes to clinch his first major title at the U.S. Open on
Sunday, his closing two-over-par 72 giving him a three-shot victory.
The 33-year-old American,
who had forged three strokes ahead of the field with a 67 in the third round,
held off a brave challenge from playing partner Stephen Leaney of Australia, finishing
tied with the tournament record on eight-under 272.
One of the straightest hitters
in the game, Furyk equalled the 72-hole mark first set by Jack Nicklaus at Baltusrol
in 1980, and later matched by Lee Janzen at the same venue in 1993 and Tiger Woods
at Pebble Beach in 2000.
"It's very special
... it's beyond some dreams," an emotional Furyk said.
"This is a heckuva
present for Father's Day," he added, referring to his father Mike, who has
been his sole swing coach since he turned professional in 1992.
Nineteen players had been
under par going into the last day, but only four stayed there as the course firmed
up and the greens became lightning fast under a baking sun.
Furyk struck a superb approach
to within three feet of the flag for birdie at the par-four 14th to stretch his
lead to four, and could afford to bogey the treacherous finishing holes at Olympia
Fields Country Club to secure his major breakthrough.
He had wobbled briefly with
his first dropped shots of the day on 10 and 12, and Leaney then closed the gap
to three with a 40-foot birdie putt on 13.
But Furyk hit back immediately
with his birdie on 14, and the end result, thereafter, was never in any doubt
in bright afternoon sunshine.
The 34-year-old Leaney had
provided a brave challenge, but experienced a roller-coaster round.
He started the day three
strokes behind, but bogeys on one, three, seven, eight, 11 and 17 more than offset
his birdies at the second, fourth, sixth and 13th.
"I'm happy and I'm
sad," Leaney said.
"I thought I had a
very big chance today, and even more so after holing that putt on 13.
"But Jim kept me at
arm's length all day. It was disappointing but there are some good things to come
out of this week."
Furyk, who possesses one
of the most unorthodox swings in the game, played nerveless golf and had to sink
two putts from 15 feet to salvage par in the first five holes.
Mike Weir, the U.S. Masters
champion, had got to three under after 16 holes but dropped shots on 17 and 18
for a one-over-par 71, finishing in a tie for third with Kenny Perry at one-under
Perry, winner of back-to-back
titles on this year's PGA Tour, had earlier carded an impressive three-under-par
67 to hold the clubhouse lead.
"I played great today,"
the 42-year-old American said. "I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens
and I could have actually shot four- or five-under."
Briton Justin Rose, in his
first U.S. Open, carded a final-round 69 to tie for fifth at even-par 280 with
twice champion Ernie Els (72), three-times major winner Nick Price (75), 2001
U.S. PGA champion David Toms (71) and Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson (71).
Defending champion Tiger
Woods, whose title hopes all but disappeared with his third-round 75, was another
to struggle after a promising two-birdie start.
His bid to vault up the
last-day leaderboard was derailed by a four-putt double-bogey at the ninth, and
he dropped two more shots on the back nine to finish with a two-over-par 72 at
"It's been frustrating
the whole week," the world number one said. "I've not got anything going.
I felt I was close to putting it together, but I need a bit of momentum."
Woods found the semi-rough
at the 576-yard first after pulling his drive.
But, after hitting his second
shot into the front left bunker, he splashed out to seven feet from where he made
Birdie number two came at
the par-five sixth, when he rifled his approach to eight feet to move to two under
for the day, where he remained following a regulation par at the 212-yard seventh.
At the par-four ninth, however,
his approach screwed back to 30 feet below the hole.
With the greens quickening,
his first putt shot past seven feet, he missed the putt for par coming back and
another from four feet before finally holing out.
He never recovered after
that and finished in a tie for 20th.