Jim Furyk shot a sizzling 12-under 59 to become only the sixth player to post golf’s magic number during the second round of the BMW Championship.
Furyk, who started on no. 10, posted six birdies and an eagle on the back nine (his first) for an eight-under 28 at Conway Farms — which matched Phil Mickelson’s effort two weeks ago in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship (but Phil had to settle with a 63).
The question was whether Furyk could carry over the momentum on the next nine holes and control his nerves to achieve such a remarkable feat.
Indeed, he did. Furyk holed three consecutive birdies on nos. 2, 3 and 4, but then he three-putted for bogey on no. 5. Uh-oh. But, fear not! Furyk rolled in a birdie on no. 7, which he said “got me going.”
“It’s a magic number,” said Furyk in his post-round interview with Golf Channel. “It’s hard to get under 30 on nine. It’s definitely hard to get under 60. So it definitely was playing tricks on my mind.”
Next, he stepped up to the reachable-in-two par-5 8th, which seemed like the perfect opportunity for Furyk to make birdie and get to 12-under. He went from the green on his second shot, but missed and found his ball on a strip of grass in the greenside bunker. He was unable to convert for birdie and settled with a par.
“I told myself on nine, ‘How many opportunities are you going to have to do this in your life,’” said Furyk, who hit 14 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens and only needed 23 putts.
The stage was set for a must-make birdie on the par-4 9th for the 16-time PGA Tour winner to join Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos, and Stuart Appleby as the only players to post a sub-60 round.
|Al Geiberger||1977 FedEx St. Jude/R2||72|
|Chip Beck||1991 Shriners Hosp./R3||72|
|David Duval||1999 Humana Chall./R4||72|
|Paul Goydos||2010 John Deere Cl./R1||71|
|Stuart Appleby||2010 Greenbrier Cl./R4||70|
|Jim Furyk||2013 BMW Champ./R2||71|
Furyk threw a dart at the pin, leaving him with three feet. Given the short putts we saw Furyk miss last season in high pressure situations at big events, I couldn’t watch as he stepped up to the putt. This time, the 2003 U.S. Open champion rolled it straight in for 59.
In fact, that putt was quite similar to the putt he made in 2010 at the Tour Championship to win the season finale, along with the FedExCup (and wheelbarrow of cash).
“It reminded me of the same putt I made to win the FedExCup (in 2010),” said Furyk, who saved par from the bunker on the par-3 18th at the 2010 Tour Championship. “It was left center and I told myself, just hit it solid and see what happens. I don’t really even remember striking the putt or what it felt like when it left the putter, but it went in the middle I believe, so it’s all good.”
Furyk, who shot a mediocre one-over 72 on Thursday, also played his way into a tie for the lead with Brandt Snedeker at 11-under with two rounds to play. The 43-year-old didn’t even realize he was tied for the lead until it was brought to his attention.
“It will sink in later,” he said. “I’m excited. The second part is I will have to calm down later tonight and realize i got myself in contention to win a golf tournament.”
Meanwhile, it was only a little over a week ago when Furyk was passed over by Fred Couples as a captain’s pick for next month’s Presidents Cup. Couples was so distraught over leaving his old friend off the team that he couldn’t bring himself to call him and broke the news to Furyk over a text message.
Now, many will claim Couples messed up by not picking Furyk, but honestly, that’s not completely fair. (If anything, I’m more outraged that Couples couldn’t man up to call him.) Furyk has been in good form lately — in his last five starts he notched four top 10s, including a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship – and has a great record at the Presidents Cup (which is baffling because it’s the opposite in the Ryder Cup, but hindsight is 20/20, right?).
In retrospect, perhaps Couples should have picked Furyk over Webb Simpson, who was bumped out of top 10 in points after the Deutsche Bank Championship, the last event to earn an automatic berth. Either way, Couples was in a tough position, especially since everyone remembers how much Furyk, one of Captain Davis Love III’s wildcard picks, struggled at last year’s Ryder Cup.
Furyk, who was a member of every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since 1997, said Couples’ decision didn’t motivate him to seek vengeance of any sort.
“I was disappointed,” said Furyk. “I was bummed about it, but I’m not really like a spiteful person. I didn’t go out there with a chip on my shoulder to prove anything to anyone this week. I feel like my career has spoken for itself, and I really don’t have anything to prove to anyone.
“I just want to play well. I want to go out there and try to contend and play well in a golf tournament and get myself in position for the FedExCup.”
Furyk will savor the 59, but he’ll have to quickly turn his focus to finishing strong in the next two rounds, with his sights set on securing his 17th PGA Tour victory.
(Getty Images/Mike Cohen)