Saturday 18 November 2017

Sweet 16 gives Furyk FedEx title as Ryder Cup captains fret over delay

Mark Garrod

JIM Furyk claimed his 16th PGA Tour victory yesterday after he overcame a nervy end and the late surge of Luke Doneld to secure the Tour Championship along with FedExCup honours and the $10 million bonus at rain-soaked Atlanta.

A late slip threatened to derail Furyk's hopes despite the fact that Nick Watney's early surge fell by the wayside with two bogeys in the last three holes.

Furyk also bogeyed 16 and 17 having played the front nine on level par. But a par on 18 meant the 40-year-old finished one shot clear of England's Luke Donald.

Furyk began the end-of-season series by being disqualified from the first of the four events for oversleeping But, forced to play catch-up once he woke up, the former US Open champion did just that.

Starting the final week 11th on the points table Furyk's closing 70 -- a lot of it played in pouring rain -- gave him an eight under par total of 272.

Of much more concern to rival Ryder Cup captains, Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin, was the fact that all the rain caused play to be suspended for a time -- placing a question mark over the departure of Europe's Luke Donald and the entire American team. From seven-over par after seven holes of his third round, Watney -- the man who blew the US PGA with a closing 81 -- played the next 20 holes in an incredible 14-under.


And after covering the back nine yesterday in 28 and going out in just 30 on his return, the 29-year-old (who is not part of his country's Ryder Cup effort this coming week) put himself within one shot of compatriot Jim Furyk.

Watney rounded off that burst with a chip-in eagle at the long ninth and he was, of course, chasing the richest prize in golf; £860,000 for the tournament, but a near £6.4m bonus for the overall FedEx Cup play-off series.

Watney had parred the 10th and 11th to remain one behind Furyk when play was suspended at 1.10 local time because of the danger of lightning but had lost his momentum on the resumption and soon saw his chances go up in smoke before finishing on five-under with a 67.

Paul Casey made a 25-footer from short of the ninth green to join him on five-under. The tee-off times had earlier been brought forward because of the weather forecast, but there was still over two hours' play to go when the siren was sounded.

The long delay, of course, could impact on the departure of the American team -- and Donald -- for the Ryder Cup in Celtic Manor. They were due to leave Atlanta at 10.0 local time last night.

Irish Independent

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