Furyk Ends Drought

December 05, 2009

Jim Furyk hadn't won since the 2007 Canadian Open.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Jim Furyk ended more than two years without a victory Sunday when he holed key putts on the final two holes for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory in the Chevron World Challenge.

It was a fitting conclusion to a week dominated by talk of host Tiger Woods: A guy wearing red shirts and dark pants came through with the clutch putts with the tournament on the line.

Woods, the tournament host, wasn't around to present the trophy to one of his favorite players on the PGA Tour. He withdrew because of injuries from his Nov. 27 car crash, although he was part of every conversation because of the worldwide publicity over allegations of extramarital affairs.

"Tough times," Furyk said. "So they need the support of their friends right now, and I know that people are thinking about them."

Over the final few hours, attention shifted to a golf tournament in which six players had a share of the lead at some point Sunday.

Furyk finished at 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory over Graeme McDowell, who replaced Woods in the 18-man field. McDowell needed to hole out from the fairway to force a playoff, and it looked for a moment as if it had a chance.

McDowell settled for a birdie and a 70, and his second-place finish moved him up to No. 38 in the world ranking and virtually assured him a spot in the Masters next year.

Lee Westwood had a birdie chip to force a playoff, then missed a 4-foot par putt and had to settle for a 70 and a two-way tie for third with Padraig Harrington, who had two eagles in his round of 70.

"After I missed the putt to tie on the last, I lost a bit of concentration," Westwood said.

Furyk took the lead with a birdie on the 10th and never trailed again, although he was in trouble on the par-3 17th when 8-iron tumbled down the slope into a bunker. He blasted out 35 feet beyond the hole, then made the par putt to keep his one-shot lead.

Realizing he was being chased, Furyk went right at the flag on the 18th with a 9-iron from 146 yards and watched it settle 5 feet below the cup. When he reached the green, he saw that Westwood had birdied the 17th to tie him.

Furyk holed the putt, then watched to see if anyone could catch him.

It was his first victory since the 2007 Canadian Open, and along with $1.35 million, the victory moved Furyk to No. 6 in the world.

"It's bothered me," Furyk said of his victory drought. "I'd be lying if I said otherwise. That's your goal every year to go out and win, and I haven't been able to do it. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone."

Harrington twice chipped in for eagle, while Steve Stricker also made two eagles on a final day packed with action at Sherwood Country Club. Camilo Villegas had the best shot of the day, a 3-wood from 262 yards on the 13th for an albatross, the rarest shot in golf.

"One good thing that happened to me this week," Villegas said.