Furyk Claims Chevron World Challenge

Both players in contention for victory at the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club wore red during the final round. And while that look was made famous by Tiger Woods, the tournament host was nowhere in sight when it came to presenting a red-and-black clad Jim Furyk with the winner’s trophy Sunday.

It took a final hole birdie for Furyk to clinch his first victory on tour in almost two years over an in-form Lee Westwood. Furyk, who closed with a five-under par 67 to finish at 13-under for the tournament, spoke after the victory about what it meant to him to notch up his 14th PGA Tour win in style.

“It’s bothered me,” Furyk said of his win-less stretch. “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.”

While Furyk hasn’t won as many times as one might expect for a player who has been at the top of the world game for over a decade, the 2003 U.S Open champion has proven himself as one of, if not the most consistent player in the game. The Chevron only cemented that reputation.

After taking his first lead of the tournament with a birdie on the 10th Furyk played aggressively down the stretch. But Sherwood rarely fails to provide plenty of drama down the stretch.

After two-putting for birdie the par 5 16th to get to -12 Furyk promptly dumped his tee shot on the par 3 17th into a plugged lie in the front bunker. After splashing out to 35 feet Furyk dropped the bomb for par to keep his momentum going and maintain a one shot cushion over Westwood who birdied 17 right behind Furyk.

Any questions about Furyk’s closing ability after a six week break were answered again a hole later as he threw a nine-iron to five feet and calmly drained the birdie to take the lead outright. Westwood, the winner of the 2008/09 Race to Dubai and the current world No. 4, could not answer on the 18th, instead making bogey to fall into a tie for 2nd with Irishman Graham McDowell at -11.

McDowell was as  last-minute addition to the field after the host pulled out due to a car accident earlier in the week. At the time McDowell was sitting close to the top 50 in the world and the cut line for an early Masters invitation. His tie for 2nd pushed him to 38th, all but guaranteeing him a ticket to Augusta.

“Timing is everything,” McDowell said. “To get the call-up was good, although I wish it had been different circumstances. Sometimes this game gives you something back when you least expect it.”

Although not present at Sherwood, Woods was never far from the minds of the players in the field, especially those like Furyk, who have formed a strong bond with the world No. 1 through Ryder and Presidents’ Cups.

Furyk said he had send Woods a text last week to check on his condition after the accident. He anticipated a reply following the win, going on to say he would “reply and wish him the best.”

“Tough times,” Furyk said with regards to the Woods‘ drama. “So they need the support of their friends right now, and I know that people are thinking about them.”

Furyk’s is not scheduled to return to the tour until the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles in February. Wood’s return remains uncertain.

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