Monday, December 07, 2009

Exciting finish to Tiger-less Chevron World Challenge

Jim Furyk wins, late sub Graeme McDowell comes

second and wins a place in Masters field

Jim Furyk ended more than two years without a victory by holing key putts on the final two holes for a five-under 67 and a one-shot victory in the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks in California on Sunday.
Tiger Woods, the tournament host, wasn’t around to present the trophy to one of his favourite players on the US PGA Tour. He withdrew because of injuries from his November 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.
Furyk finished at 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory over Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, who replaced Woods in the 18-man field late in the build-up. McDowell needed to hole out from the fairway to force a play-off, 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 play-off, 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 his tee shot 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.
Realising he was being chased, Furyk went right at the flag on the 18th 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 eagles, 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 2, the rarest shot in golf.
“One good thing that happened to me this week,” Villegas said.

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