Furyk holds nerve to win

2005-12-04 18:23
Sun City - Jim Furyk sank a 9-foot chip for birdie on the second playoff hole on Sunday to win the Nedbank Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.

Furyk, who shot a 72 for a 6-under 282 total, led for most of the final round, but a 6-foot par putt lipped out on his final hole of regulation to allow Adam Scott, defending champion Retief Goosen and Darren Clarke back into the tournament.

Goosen was the first to go out in the sudden-death playoff.

"That's as many times as I want to play the 18th in one day," said Furyk. "But what I am most proud of is the way I played it. I hit my drives onto the fairways and I attacked the stick each time."

On a day when only three players in the 12-man field broke par-72, Furyk had three birdies and dropped three shots in his round.

Joint third-round leader Angel Cabrera had a final round of 80, after his course-record 64 in the second round.

"It's been a year of close calls," Furyk said. "I lost two playoffs and I lost to Tiger Woods on the last hole at Westchester - that's a lot of times to walk off the 18th disappointed."

The American won $1.2m.

"We're all out there playing for the title," Furyk said. "But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a quite amazing purse."

Furyk's final approach in the playoff had skidded just off the back of the green.

"I had a great lie, so I was able to be aggressive," he said. "I felt I had the opportunity to make it if I made sure it had the correct speed. It looked great about 6 or 7 feet from the hole, even though it was breaking 2 or 3 feet from left to right."

Furyk dropped his club and ran to embrace his family at the side of the green when he won. The gallery roared its approval for Furyk has developed a following in South Africa since he disqualified himself in a 2001 event.

"The fans have half adopted me, and that's a special feeling," Furyk said.

Cabrera sank to eighth at 1 over, and Ernie Els - returning from a 4 1/2-month layoff for injury and surgery - was ninth at 2 over with a final-round 75.

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