Vegas, 18th October 1998
- Just when Jim Furyk thought he was going to have an easy romp in the Las
Vegas Invitational, along came Mark Calcavecchia to make things interesting.
A little too interesting
for Furyk, who barely hung on to win for the first time in more than two years
when his 8-footer for par dropped in the right side of the cup on No. 18 today.
was going 10,000 miles a minute there,'' Furyk said. "I was pretty tight.''
birdied five of the last eight holes and knocked a 7-iron within three feet to
give himself a chance on the final hole, where Furyk had to get up-and-down out
of a greenside bunker to hold on for his one-stroke win.
easily the best player without a win in professional golf the last two seasons,
did just that, hitting his sand shot past the pin and then making the putt.
shook his fist in celebration even before the putt dropped, then pumped his hands
in the air again in a rare show of emotion.
always had confidence in myself I was good enough to win a golf tournament,''
said Furyk, who moved into second place on the PGA Tour money list behind David
Duval. "But every time you come close and it doesn't happen, it seems that
much harder to get over the hill.''
two strokes ahead going to 18, ended up with a 4-under-par 68, while Calcavecchia
shot a 66. Scott Verplank was another two strokes back in third.
who won his first PGA Tour event here in 1995, started the day with a three-shot
lead and was five strokes ahead as late as 14. But Calcavecchia's charge and Furyk's
bogey on 17 put him one missed putt from a playoff.
was the only player to challenge Furyk, and could have made it even closer if
a 20-footer for birdie on 17 had dropped instead of hitting the hole and going
turned out to be a good show after all,'' Calcavecchia said. "Those five-
or six-shot wins can be boring. I've had a few of those myself.''
watched as Furyk made his putt, then rolled in his 3-footer for his final birdie.
missed his putt I knew I was going to make it to get in a playoff,'' Calcavecchia
was the first for Furyk since the 1996 Hawaiian Open and the $360,000 first-place
check pushed him past Tiger Woods and four others into second place on the money
list with $1.82 million.
who now has three career PGA Tour victories, set a record last year for most money
won without winning a tournament, and had 10 top-10 finishes this year without
in the top 10 is great but eventually you want to break the door down and get
a win under your belt,'' he said. "It just gets frustrating.''
had finished second twice this year and was fourth at both The Masters and British
Open. Still, he acknowledged he needs to start winning more to get into position
where he is viewed as one of the top golfers in the world.
see myself when I'm playing well as good as anyone in the world,'' he said. "But
to be considered the best you have to win a lot of golf tournaments, including
It was the 24th top-10 finish for Furyk in the last two years. ... It was Calcavecchia's
20th second-place finish in the 1990s. ... Crowds at the tournament were down
considerably this year with the absence of Woods, who won his first tournament
as a pro here in 1996 and returned last year to play as defending champion. Woods
played in the Cisco World Match Play Championship in England this week, finishing
as the runner-up to Mark O'Meara after today's 36-hole final.