“I don’t like to label or place or prioritise courses, but this is way up there for me”. He relishes a return to being a player simply trying to win a prestigious golf tournament, rather than a man looking to end a winless drought that had reached almost five years.
It hasn’t been from a lack of effort.
Furyk would have a share of the lead with Lee, had he not bogeyed the par-four 18th. Each time he missed. He made bogey on his last hole the previous two rounds.
“One 66 is not going to do it, I’m going to need a few”. He had a 68 and was six behind.
More painful was three years ago, when Furyk led wire to wire and was in the 18th fairway when one bad swing led to a double bogey and he lost by one.
Furyk looks like he gets another chance this weekend.
World No. 4 Jason Day looked set to at least join Bowditch at five under with three birdies through his opening 15 holes before the par-five-16th ruined his run for the third straight round. “We all know what we’ve got to do. I’m glad I managed to recover”, said Oda.
“I finally hit a good drive on 18 and I’m licking my chops to get down there, knowing I’m going to have a short iron in my hand”, Furyk said.
“So I’m disappointed (never to have won at Firestone), but to have like a chip on my shoulder”.
“I had good shots and putts over the second half of my round”, said Oda, who teed off on No. 10.
“I just have to come out tomorrow, pick my moments and try to go very low and see what happens”.
It might take every bit of that considering the cast behind him.
World number three Bubba Watson enjoyed a lot of success on Friday as he hit a four-under-par 66 to move into a tie for second with Irishman Shane Lowry, who also recorded a 66, and Dustin Johnson, who registered a three-under-par 67. Henrik Stenson (69) and Graeme McDowell (71) were among those another shot behind.
He survived the tough finishing kick after Kiel Reijnen and Jure Kocjan went too soon in their final sprint.
“I feel like I am trending in the right direction and have still got time to get a win before the season is out. And it starts with technique, and it starts with hard work and motivation and kind of all the things that I’ve done in the past”.
The South Course at Firestone was remodeled by Robert Trent Jones in 1960. The highlights were his victories in the Players Championship and the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open, and he backed up those results with a second in the Quicken Loans National and a tie for third in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. He followed with back-to-back bogeys.
Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth acquired inside two of the lead when he chipped in for birdie on the third gap (his 12th of the spherical).
Sergio Garcia’s hopes of improving on his runner-up finish from last year suffered a massive early blow in the opening round.
Danny Lee couldn’t hold the lead on Friday after shooting a 2-over 74 to bring his total to 3-under for the tournament.
Exclusively 19 from the 77-player area remained beneath par.
While many players have been humbled this week by Firestone’s firm conditions and penal rough, Furyk appears to be playing a different golf course.