Furyk recovers from rough start to win US Senior Open by 3

Jul 11, 2021, 5:19 AM | Updated: 7:35 pm

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Jim Furyk put his name alongside some of golf’s greats Sunday once he recovered from a rough start in the final round of the U.S. Senior Open.

Making his debut in the event, Furyk closed with a 1-over 71 to become the eighth player to win both the U.S. Open and Senior Open, joining Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Gary Player, Hale Irwin and Orville Moody.

“It’s an incredible list,” Furyk said. “I didn’t really want to look to see who was on it last night, but when I finished in the scoring tent I saw it was on TV. They listed the seven folks before. I’m very honored and humbled to have my name in the same breath, to be honest with you. That’s some damn good players.”

Furyk finished at 7-under 273 at Omaha Country Club and held off Retief Goosen and Mike Weir by three strokes.

He won the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields south of Chicago, is a 17-time winner on the PGA Tour and won his first two PGA Tour Champions events upon turning 50 last year. This was the third senior major he’s played. He tied for 16th in the Senior PGA and was sixth in the Senior Players Championship.

It was not the stress-free final round Furyk wanted Sunday. He played the first three holes in 3 over, finding the unforgiving rough three times on the second hole and a tricky lie in the greenside bunker on the third. Suddenly, his four-shot lead was down to one.

Furyk righted himself with a birdie on the par-5 sixth and, after going out in 2-over 37, regained the four-shot lead by the time he made the turn.

It wasn’t until he stuck his 109-yard approach to 3 feet to birdie the par-5 16th that he put away his closest pursuers, major champions Goosen and Weir. That put him three up with two holes to play.

“I felt real good about it, I’ll say that,” he said. “Looking back after making bogey at 15, that was probably the clincher.”

Furyk played his final 15 holes in 2 under and finished at 7-under 273 to win the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy and $720,000. He was the seventh player to have a lead of four or more strokes entering the final round of the U.S. Senior Open, and six have gone on to win.

Weir tied for lowest round of the day with a 67, and Goosen shot 69.

Furyk looked to be in full control after he followed his 64 on Friday with a 66 on Saturday.

But he bogeyed the par-5 second hole after his layup attempt from the right rough rolled across the fairway and into the left rough, and his next shot found the greenside cabbage.

Then he put his tee shot just below the lip of the left bunker on the par-3 third and needed two swings to get out. He two-putted for a double bogey that dropped him to 5 under for the tournament.

“I was just a little mad at myself for turning a 4 into a 5,” Furyk said. “You’ve got a big lead or got a lead going into Sunday, that’s what you’re trying to avoid. So I was really just trying to collect myself.”

Goosen birdied the first hole and tapped in for another on the sixth to get to 4 under. It looked as if he would stall out with bogeys on two of his next four holes, but he played his last seven in 2 under to hang around.

“Overall, I would say the way I felt early in the week I would have taken second,” Goosen said, “but it would have been nice to have been a little closer coming down the last.”

Weir started the day seven shots off the lead and made three pushes to get within three, the last when he made birdie on the 16th just before Furyk bogeyed the 15th.

“It would have been really tough to catch Jim,” Weir said. “He’s such a tough competitor and solid player that he’s not going to give too many back, and you know he’s going to fight.”

Rod Pampling (67) birdied two of the last four holes to finish at 3 under,

Bernhard Langer, who has won a record 11 senior majors, made long birdie puts on Nos. 11 and 12 and tapped in for another on No. 13 to pull within four of the lead. The 63-year-old could get no closer in his bid for his first senior major win since 2017. He had a 68 to tie for fifth at 1 under.

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