Sun City, South Africa
After a lot of near misses in 2005, Jim Furyk took this one to the bank.
Furyk became the first American since Corey Pavin in 1995 to win the Nedbank Challenge, capturing a four-way playoff with a chip-in birdie from 9 feet on the second playoff hole to win the $1.2 million top prize Dec. 4 at Gary Player Country Club (Results, p57).
Furyk, who shot a final-round 72 for a 6-under 282 total, defeated 2004 champion Retief Goosen (72), Adam Scott (73) and Darren Clarke (69) in the playoff, which comprised one-third of the 12-man field for the $4.06 million event.
Luke Donald finished fifth, one shot out of the playoff. Ernie Els, returning from a 41⁄2-month layoff after an injury and surgery to his left knee, finished ninth at 2-over 290 following a 75.
Playing for the sixth time in the event, Furyk already had become a favorite to Sun City fans, mainly because of his 2001 appearance, when he disqualified himself for misplacing a ball. Instead of leaving the tournament, he continued to play as a noncompeting marker so the pairings would not be disrupted.
“The fans have half-adopted me,” he said. “And that’s a special feeling.”
Furyk, who led for most of the final round, missed a 6-foot par putt on the 72nd hole that would have given him the victory. Goosen was eliminated on the first playoff hole, sending Furyk, Clarke and Scott back to the 18th. Clarke and Scott both missed birdie tries before Furyk, who had put his approach just over the flag and into the fringe above the hole, found the hole with his delicate chip.