Furyk races to Memorial win
by Associated Press
Loopy swinger Jim Furyk demonstrated his fighting spirit yesterday to record a 65 in the final round and win the Memorial Tournament from Murifield Village in Dublin, Ohio. It was his first tournament victory on the US PGA Tour since the beginning of the 2001 season.
Furyk started the final round a massive seven shots off the lead yesterday but played solidly for the front nine before really turning on the heat over the final few holes, just as the leading group of Bob Tway and Stewart Cink faltered.
The two most significant moves of Furyk's final round came at the 12th and 15th holes, where he holed shots from around the green. Firstly he chipped a difficult downhiller from the fringe into the hole at the par three 12th, where the final day pin placement in the back right portion of the green had caused players trouble all day.
Then he followed up by holing a bunker shot for eagle from the bunker to the right of green at the par 5 15th. When interviewed after receiving the trophy from tournament host, Jack Nicklaus, Furyk summed up the victory in very simple terms: "It's the short game that wins tournaments."
Although these two miracle shots took him from being one behind to two ahead of the leaders at 15 under par, Furyk still had more shots to play. He hit a beautiful approach to the long par three 16th and converted the 12 foot putt for another birdie.
Then, sitting on a three shot lead over surprise challenger David Peoples, Furyk dropped a shot at the 17th and played a stunning approach from the fairway bunker, 195 yards out, to the middle of the last green, where he comfortably two putted to set the target that none of the following players could match.
This week was a minor victory for 42 year old tour "grinder" David Peoples. He won twice on the tour during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but had since lost his tour card forcing him to contend with the young guns on the Buy.com subsidiary tour. This year he returned to the main tour thanks to a top 15 placing on the Buy.com and the cheque he earned this week, of nearly $400,000, will guarantee him playing rights for another season.
Peoples finished tied second with another US PGA Tour veteran, John Cook. Cook spent many of his formative years as a professional practising at Muirfield Village and was very much the home favourite. Had he hit his birdie putt at the eighteenth a couple of ounces harder, he would have taken second place on his own, but unfortunately his putt fell half a roll short.
Furyk's victory could not have come at a better time. With just two weeks to go before the US Open, he must now represent a good each-way bet for that championship. He certainly demonstrates the required accuracy off the tee and touch round the greens in the heat of battle yesterday to succeed in US Open conditions.
He was watched yesterday in his final round by his heavily pregnant wife Tabbatha. The couple are expecting a baby girl on July 3rd.
1 Jim Furyk 71 70 68 65 274
T2 David Peoples 69 74 65 68 276 John Cook 73 69 65 69 276
T4 David Duval 75 69 67 66 277 Harrison Frazar 70 65 75 67 277
Vijay Singh 69 67 72 69 277 Shigeki Maruyama 74 66 67 70 277
Bob Tway 65 71 68 73 277
T9 Billy Andrade 72 72 67 67 278 Phil Mickelson 73 66 70 69 278
Jerry Kelly 71 71 68 68 278 Stewart Cink 1 66 70 69 73 278