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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > Wachovia Championship > Round 4


Jim Furyk clinches title in playoff

The 6-foot par putt was still halfway to the cup when Jim Furyk raised his arm, turned and slammed his fist to punctuate his playoff victory and bury a few demons Sunday in the Wachovia Championship.

There was that four-hole playoff he lost at Quail Hollow last year. In his last tournament three weeks ago at Hilton Head, he watched 10-foot putts graze the lip on his last two holes to finish one shot behind. And in a trend he can only chalk up as a fluke, it had been 10 years since Furyk last won a playoff on the PGA Tour.

"It's nice to come out and get it done this time," he said.

Furyk had to work hard for his 11th career victory, making an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole in regulation to close with a 1-under 71 and force a playoff with Trevor Immelman, then making the 6-footer on the 18th in a playoff to write a happier ending on a cold, rainy afternoon at Quail Hollow.

But while Furyk was gritty as ever, he needed some help.

Immelman only had to two-putt for par from 50 feet on the 18th green in regulation, but ran his first attempt 10 feet by the cup and missed his par putt to the left. On the 18th hole in the playoff, Immelman fanned his drive into the right rough, had to lay up well short of the green, and his third shot spun off the front. The best he could was bogey.

"When you come that close, you're disappointed to not finish the job," said Immelman, who had a two-shot lead with five holes to play and shot 70. "It's my best finish on the PGA Tour, and I've got to build on that."

Furyk had two good looks at birdie in the playoff last year and missed them both. He couldn't afford to miss anything down the stretch this year, and he didn't.

No putt was bigger than the 8-footer in regulation, one that left him stumped. He studied it from both sides, and he crouched behind the ball, caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan was chattering away, convincing Furyk it was relatively straight.

"I did a good job hitting that putt right where he said, and he made a great read," Furyk said.

In the playoff, Furyk found the bunker right of the fairway, ripped a 3-iron at the flag only to see it roll off the front, then used his putter to run it 6 feet by the hole and set up the winning putt.

Furyk, who finished at 12-under 276, earned $1.134 million for his 11th career victory, and it might be enough to move him into the top five in the world ranking. He also climbed to No. 3 in the Ryder Cup standings.

Immelman was solid throughout the heavy rain in the middle of the round, and the pressure down the stretch. He built a two-shot lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th hole and kept his cushion as Furyk closed in. The South African twice made clutch par saves on the 16th and 17th to keep the lead, and hit the middle of the fairway and the middle of the green on the final hole.

That's where it all came undone.

"For anybody to get within 5 feet would have been a good effort," Immelman said of his 50-foot putt in regulation.

Adam Scott never got within four shots of the lead, but wound up third after closing with a 71.

Retief Goosen was tied for the lead with seven holes to play but couldn't keep up. Then, the two-time U.S. Open champion hit three balls into the creek on the par-4 18th and made a 9 to close with 77 and drop into a tie for 10th.

Vijay Singh, without a victory in nine months, made triple bogey on the last hole for an 81, his highest score on the PGA Tour since he shot 84 in the second round of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson continued to look sluggish in closing with a 74 to finish at 290, then hinted he might skip the Byron Nelson Championship this week to stay fresh before starting his run to the U.S. Open at the Memorial.

Starting times were moved up because of rain in the forecast, and there were two delays before the leaders teed off. What they found was a course that played longer than ever because of the wet fairways and chill in the air.

The best round of the day was a 69 by former Wachovia champion Joey Sindelar, and the average score was 74.67.

Immelman took a two-shot lead to the back nine, then quickly gave it away with a double bogey on No. 11 when he went deep into the rough and trees to the right, couldn't get it out to the fairway and was still short of the green on his third shot.

He birdied two of the next three holes to restore his margin, and appeared to have it wrapped up when he hit the 18th green and Furyk was in deep rough to the right.

"It didn't look good, but I stayed positive," Furyk said. "Until he two-putts, you've got to keep fighting and try to win."



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