Jim Furyk stays out front, but Steve Stricker in pursuit after third round
BY JOHN P. BORNEMAN Sun-Times Media September 14, 2013 9:14PM
Steve Stricker acknowledges the gallery after making birdie on the 18th green during the third round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AT A GLANCE
What: 2013 BMW Championship, third leg of PGA’s FedExCup playoffs.
Where: Conway Farms Golf Club, Lake Forest.
The field: Top 70 players in the FedEx Cup rankings, competing for $8 million purse, including $1.44 million to champion. Top 30 players are eligible for Tour championship in Atlanta.
TV: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday; Ch. 5, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: bmwchampionship
usa.com or (847) 724-4600.
Full scores and final round tee times,
Jim Furyk shot a 59 on Friday. Here’s a look at how the five previous 59s fared on the PGA Tour, with only two failing to win the tournament.
• Chip Beck, 1991 Las Vegas Invitational
• Paul Goydos, 2010 John Deere Classic
• Al Geiberger, 1977 Memphis Classic
• David Duval, 1999 Bob Hope Classic
• Stuart Appleby, 2010 Greenbrier Classic
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:58AM
LAKE FOREST — Steve Stricker did something he almost never does — pick a number.
The Wisconsin native didn’t hit his goal of an 8-under 63 on Saturday, but he did give himself a chance to win the BMW Championship and, perhaps, the FedEx Cup. Fueled by an eagle on the par-4 15th, Stricker closed with a 31 on the back nine at Conway Farms Golf Club to post a 7-under 64.
That number — second only to Matt Kuchar’s 61 — put him at 12 under, just one shot behind leader Jim Furyk.
‘‘You know, I had a number in mind at the start of the day, which I typically don’t do,’’ Stricker said. ‘‘But 8 under was kind of in the back of my mind to try to get to 13 for the day at the end of the day, and I thought that wouldn’t be too far away.’’
It won’t be.
Stricker’s round warmed up with birdies at 10, 12 and 14. On a day when some players tried to drive the 305-yard 15th, Stricker laid up to 99 yards and flew his sand-wedge approach into the hole for an eagle that put him at 7 under.
‘‘I didn’t look to see what the yardage was to the front of the green,’’ Stricker said. ‘‘For me, it’s probably just a smarter play to lay it up there under 100 yards and try to do something with a wedge.’’
One of his only misses was a 4-iron on the par-3 17th that hooked into the grandstands for a bogey, but he got that back by reaching the bunker right of the green on the par-5 18th in two and playing a delicate sand shot to within 4 feet for a closing birdie.
Not bad for a 46-year-old who wasn’t thinking playoffs when he made a commitment to play a limited schedule in 2013.
‘‘Really didn’t plan on playing much in the playoffs, and then happened to finish second last week [at the Deutsche Bank Championship],” Stricker said. ‘‘It made me start thinking, ‘Well, shoot. I’ve got a chance to win this thing. I’d better play.’ ’’
He’ll have to beat a loaded BMW Championship leaderboard.
Furyk was introduced as a new member of the 59 Club on the first tee, and after a slow start, he made birdies at Nos. 7, 10, 11 and 15 to rebuild a two-shot advantage.
He closed his day with a disappointing 3-putt bogey at the 18th.
‘‘Giving up one there was disappointing, but I got myself in good position,’’ Furyk said. ‘‘So rather than harp on the last hole, I probably tend to want to think about tomorrow.’’
Tiger Woods birdied six of seven holes around the turn to get within two of the lead, but his round of 5-under 66 cooled when his 6-footer for birdie on the par-5 14th slid by the hole and his first attempt at reaching the tantalizing 15th splashed in the water left of the green.
‘‘I had to try to hit some kind of soft cut up there,” said Woods, who is at 9 under, two shots behind Brandt Snedeker and one behind Zach Johnson. ‘‘I was caught between a 3-wood and a 5-wood and tried to hit a little soft cut 3-wood and just hit a pull-straight ball right in the water.’’