Co-leader Jim Furyk is Chi-high after 59 in BMW
BY HERB GOULD Staff Reporter September 13, 2013 9:51PM
Jim Furyk celebrates after putting on the ninth green to shoot a 59 during the the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in 2013. | FILE
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:32AM
His kind of town, Chicago is.
On a blustery Friday at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Jim Furyk made history, shooting 59 at the BMW Championship. He’s the sixth player to shoot the lowest round in a PGA Tour event.
Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields and the 2005 Western Open at Cog Hill, now has another memorable moment for his Chicago-area highlight reel.
‘‘[Conway Farms] will definitely always have a special place in my heart,’’ said Furyk, who ranked this round with his U.S. Open triumph and Team USA’s Ryder Cup victory at Brookline. ‘‘This definitely falls right in the mix with those.’’
He joins Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic), Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational) and Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic) in the 59 Club.
After hitting 14 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens and needing only 23 putts, Furyk readily called this the round of his life.
‘‘Absolutely,’’ he said after shooting 28-31. ‘‘I’ve played a couple of good ones. I remember a 62 at Doral once. But that magic number [of 59], it’s hard to get under 30 on a nine. And then it’s really hard to get under 60 for a day. It definitely played some tricks with my head.’’
That was very evident. When Furyk made his third consecutive birdie on No. 4 (his 13th hole), he had a shot at going under 59. He needed to play the final five holes in 2 under for 58. But a three-putt bogey on No. 5 and a par on the par-5 eighth hole snuffed that fantasy.
Needing to birdie No. 9 for 59, Furyk stuck a 103-yard gap wedge within three feet and tapped in his birdie 3. The huge crowd that had gathered to see history roared.
‘‘There’s not much I could have improved on today,’’ Furyk said.
First-round leader Brandt Snedeker, who’s tied with Furyk for the lead at 11 under after shooting 68, was shocked.
‘‘When I saw that,’’ Snedeker said, ‘‘I thought, ‘Are you serious? There’s no way.’ On a day when the wind is blowing 20 mph out of the north, I don’t think anybody saw that coming.’’
Furyk said he’ll enjoy the achievement for a night, then ‘‘realize I’ve got myself in contention in a golf tournament where I was 9 back starting the day.’’
No matter what he does this weekend, the 59 will be long remembered.
NOTES: Tiger Woods shot 72, taking an 8 on the par-4 first hole because of a two-stroke penalty. Woods is 4 under, seven shots behind the leaders. He’ll start at 11:50 a.m. Saturday with Sergio Garcia. They are not good friends.
Woods was penalized because his ball moved behind the No. 1 green when he cleared away a stick among some loose impediments. It would have been a one-stroke penalty if Woods had called it on himself.
‘‘He was a little disbelieving,’’ rules official Slugger White said, adding that Woods ‘‘felt the ball just oscillated’’ when shown the video, even though ‘‘it’s pretty clear the ball did move.’’
◆ It wasn’t a sellout because of expanded parking, but an estimated 30,000 fans, up from about 25,000 on Thursday, turned out Friday.
Some spectators reported long delays because of congestion on the roads leading to the general spectator parking lot. Tournament officials say more parking areas will ease the problem this weekend, but police and tournament officials urged fans to allow extra time.