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Las Vegas Invitational
TPC Summerlin/Desert Inn/Las Vegas C C
Las Vegas
14th - 17th October 1998

Par 72 Prize Money $2.0 million

Fifth Round Report

Jim Furyk wins Las Vegas Invitational and breaks victory drought

Associated Press

Las 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.

"My mind was going 10,000 miles a minute there,'' Furyk said. "I was pretty tight.''

Calcavecchia 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.

Furyk, 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.

He shook his fist in celebration even before the putt dropped, then pumped his hands in the air again in a rare show of emotion.

"I 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.''

Furyk, 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.

Furyk, 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.

Calcavecchia 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 by.

"It 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.''

Calcavecchia watched as Furyk made his putt, then rolled in his 3-footer for his final birdie.

"If Jim missed his putt I knew I was going to make it to get in a playoff,'' Calcavecchia said.

The win 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.

Furyk, 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 a win.

"Finishing 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.''

Furyk 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.

"I 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 some majors.''

Divots: 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.

Final Scores

Fourth Round

Third Round

Second Round

First Round