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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2007 > PGA Tour > US Open > Round 4
 

US OPEN RELATED STORIES





Poor drive costs Jim Furyk another US Open

Booming tee shots and Jim Furyk are two things that rarely go together.

The one time they did, it cost Furyk a chance to win the U.S. Open.

"Getting that close and not being able to win the golf tournament, yeah, it stings a little," he said. "But I went down swinging."

That he did. Tied for the lead on the 17th tee Sunday, Furyk decided he could still hit driver on the uphill par 4, even with the tees up and the hole playing shorter than usual.

Wrong.

His tee shot landed in such thick, snarly rough it took him two tries to get out. A bogey later, he had dropped a stroke behind Angel Cabrera. And that's where he finished, tying for second for the second straight year.

Furyk finished with a 70 to join Tiger Woods at 6-over 286.

"I didn't do all that much wrong, I didn't hit that many bad shots," said Furyk, the 2003 Open champion. "I just wasn't able to dig it out of the rough and get the ball on the green on two on 17. In the end, that's going to be the difference.

"If I had to kick myself on one shot, I would love to go hit the 17th tee shot again."

After a rough second round, Furyk played some of the best golf of anyone on the weekend. While everyone else was falling apart, his game was coming together with a pair of 70s. When he rolled in a putt on 15 for his third straight birdie, it moved him to the top of the leaderboard and into a tie with Cabrera.

Hang on for three more holes, and he could force a playoff. Better yet, make a birdie or two, and he would be the U.S. Open champ in the area where he grew up.

He made par on 16 and then went to 17, a hole he'd birdied Saturday.

The tees were pushed up for Sunday's final round, making the hole play at 306 yards. Furyk will never be mistaken for a big hitter, but even he could have -- should have -- played an iron or a 3-wood off the tee.

But he went ahead and pulled out that driver.

"I didn't think I would hit the ball -- I haven't hit a ball anywhere within 20 yards of anywhere that one went," he said. "I was shocked to see how far it went. At my length, I can hit the ball left of the green and it had an avenue up the center, and that's where I wanted to go all week.

"The ball I hit today carried a lot further. I was surprised by how far it went, and didn't realize from the tee box that I put myself in that poor of a position."

Instead of having a clear shot to the green from the fairway, he was buried in the rough on the short side of the green with no angle to the hole. The ball was down so deep, in fact, that Furyk's pitch traveled a whopping 10 yards.

"I should have been able to dig it out," he said. "I was playing away from the pin because I had no shot at it."

Though the ball spun past from the pin, he still had a chance to save par, but his 8-foot putt hit the lip and caromed off.

"If I went back, I wouldn't hit left of the green," he said. "But no, it was the play. I would stick by that play through and through with the way the wind conditions and the pin position was. In my mind, I made the right decision.

"I shouldn't have hit the ball so far left, but I'm surprised it went as far as it did."

Cabrera was already in the clubhouse, so Furyk had one final chance to catch him. He hit a nice drive into the 18th fairway, but his second shot had too much on it, too. It landed on the collar along the upper-left edge, with the pin downhill and to the right.

His long birdie putt rolled tantalizingly close to the cup, and the cheers grew louder with every turn of the ball. But it didn't break like he needed it to, and it ran about 6 feet below the hole.

At least Furyk didn't lose the Open on the 18th hole.

At Winged Foot last year, he could have forced a playoff with Geoff Ogilvy by making a 5-footer for par. But it caught the right edge of the cup, and he wound up tied with Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie.

But second is still second, no matter how you lose.

"No one likes consolation prizes," Furyk said Sunday. "I'm proud of the way I played, and I'm proud of those finishes. But you know, a second is not that much fun, to be honest with you."

 




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