Furyk shoots Tour's sixth 59 at BMW
PHOTOS: 6 players who shot 59 on the PGA Tour
Check out pictures of the six players who have carded a 59 during PGA Tour competition.
Chicago is Jim Furyk’s kind of town.
Not far from Olympia Fields, where he won his lone major championship at the 2003 U.S. Open, and Cog Hill, where he won the 2006 BMW Championship, Furyk carded a 12-under 59 at Conway Farms to become the sixth PGA Tour player to shoot golf’s magic number.
Needing a birdie on his final hole, Furyk split the fairway with his tee shot at the 405-yard ninth hole and had 103 holes to a hole location cut 5 paces from the front-left edge.
“I said, ‘How many opportunities are you going to have in your life to do this?’ ” Furyk recalled afterward.
He hit a “smooth” gap wedge, “kind of bread and butter for me,” he said. The ball hit only inches from the cup and braked itself 3 feet away.
It was so close that a fan broke the silence at the green and screamed, “Jimmy, I’ll give it to ya.”
Even Furyk, who had been his usual stoic self on the course, cracked a smile and laughed.
- Read about the six players who have shot 59 on the PGA Tour, plus other notable rounds on that mark.
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- Many of golf's top personalities react to Jim Furyk's 59 Friday on Twitter.
Furyk rolled in the putt and punched his fist in celebration of the feat, lifted his cap to salute the fans, and hugged his longtime caddie, Mike “Fluff” Cowan.
In all, Furyk made 11 birdies, an eagle and a bogey on a day when the temperature also dropped into the high 50s. With the wind giving players fits, Furyk bettered the field average in the second round by 12 strokes.
The 59 also came in Furyk’s first start since being overlooked by Fred Couples as a captain’s pick for the U.S. Presidents Cup team, ending Furyk’s string of 15 straight international team competitions. Furyk downplayed the role of his disappointment in sparking his record round.
“I was bummed about it,” Furyk said. “I didn’t go out there with a chip on my shoulder to prove anything to anyone this week.” He added, “I felt like last night I kind of kicked myself in the rear end and said, ‘You know, it’s done with. It’s over with.’ ”
Furyk opened with a 72 in the first round, but in recounting his performance to his father, noted that he played much better. His father’s advice: “Be patient . . . You’ve got three days to get it back.”
“I got it all back in one day,” Furyk said, a smile splitting his face.
Did he ever. Furyk started on the back nine with birdies on the first three holes. A par at the 13th hole proved to be a minor speed bump. Furyk rebounded with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole and then eagled the short par-4 15th, holing a gap wedge from 115 yards to get to 6 under through six holes. Furyk called a 15-foot par putt at the 16th “the key putt of the day.” He capped off a near-flawless front nine with birdies at the 17th and 18th for an 8-under 28, a score he’d never shot before.
“That was kind of cool,” Furyk said.
As he made his way to the front side, it dawned on Furyk that he only needed to shoot 4 under on his second nine. “Which doesn’t seem too far out of reach to kind of break the barrier of 60,” Furyk said.
Furyk tacked on birdies at Nos. 2-4, the biggest being a downhill 30-footer that broke a cup's width left to right at the third hole. For the round, he wielded his putter with deadly efficiency, leading the field in strokes-gained putting.
“Today I felt like I could look at the line and they’d just go in,” he said.
Furyk’s lone hiccup was a three-putt from 28 feet at the fifth hole. His birdie putt burned the left edge and slid 6 feet past.
“It was just a touch hard, and that pin was tough and icy,” Furyk said.
Then his comebacker dove left and lipped out. Furyk became the first player to shoot 59 on Tour with a bogey on the card.
The nerves began to show, but Furyk didn’t let the bogey slow him down. He left his birdie putt at the par-3 6th hole short, but regrouped by making an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 7.
“Seeing the putt go in at 7 was a big help mentally,” Furyk said.
During a long wait on the tee at the par-5 8th hole, Furyk killed time by talking NFL football with playing partner Gary Woodland.
“I thanked him,” Furyk said. “I actually quit thinking about trying to shoot 59 there for a few minutes, which was a good thing, really.”
Furyk attempted to reach the eighth green in two, but failed to get up and down from an awkward lie near the front greenside bunker. His 15-foot birdie putt raced 6 feet past the hole.
“Aah,” Furyk exclaimed, before draining the par putt. That set up the drama at No. 9.
“When I hit the wedge shot in there close, and the crowd erupted and I started looking around and it just hit me how many people had come over to that side to see the finish and how excited the crowd was,” Furyk said. “It was kind of like winning a golf tournament to be honest with you, is the reaction I got. It made it that much more fun.”
The putt for 59 reminded Furyk of his winning putt at the Tour Championship to clinch the FedEx Cup in 2010.
“It was almost the same putt, a little downhill slider left to right,” Furyk said. “I don’t remember really even striking the putt or what it felt like when it left the putter or anything.”
Oh, by the way, the birdie at the last also gave Furyk a share of the 36-hole lead with Brandt Snedeker at 11-under 131.
“I’m going to try and enjoy this,” Furyk said. “I’m not much of a smell-the-roses type of guy, but I mean, how many times am I going to shoot 59 in my life? I’m going to enjoy this one a little bit tonight, and I’ll have a big fat smile on my face when I go to bed.”