Jim Furyk wins first title since 2010 at RBC Heritage
Last Updated: 20/04/15 8:56am
Jim Furyk enjoyed one of the best ball-striking days of his distinguished career as he ended a long wait for his 17th PGA Tour title at the RBC Heritage.
On an enthralling final day, played much early than scheduled due to an adverse weather forecast, Furyk blitzed the dampened Harbour Town Golf Links for nine birdies in a closing 63 and then edged out a gallant Kevin Kisner at the second play-off hole.
-18 J Furyk* (USA) 63
-18 K Kisner (USA) 64
*Furyk won play-off
-16 T Merritt (USA) 69
-15 B Todd (USA) 67
-14 M Kuchar (USA) 68
-13 S O'Hair (USA) 64
-12 B Grace (Rsa) 69
-12 L Oosthuizen (Rsa) 67
Playing alongside Masters champion Jordan Spieth, Furyk picked up early shots at the second and fourth before charging up the leaderboard with four consecutive birdies from the sixth to close out a front-nine 30.
Furyk almost chipped in for another at 10 before three-putting the next, but he got back on track with three birdies over the next four holes to open up a three-shot lead over the chasing pack.
Kisner reduced the lead to one with birdies at 14 and 15, but Furyk parred safely in and took over the clubhouse lead on 18 under par with an excellent two-putt from 40 feet at the final hole.
But Kisner, who eagled the second and birdied five and six, then tied Furyk at the top with a stunning approach to seven feet at the last which he converted with a perfect putt to cap a flawless 64.
Birdies at 18
Back they went to the 18th tee for the play-off, and Kisner holed another great putt from 12 feet to pile the pressure on the veteran, but Furyk was up to the task and knocked in his birdie attempt from six feet.
Furyk hit another pure iron to 12 feet at the short 17th, and Kisner, who started the week ranked 257th in the world, knocked his to 20 feet but mis-read the putt and allowed too much break.
But Furyk's putt for a two never looked like missing, and he was already fist-pumping and celebrating before his ball had dropped to secure his first PGA Tour title since the 2010 Tour Championship - the year he also beat Brian Davis in a play-off at Hilton Head Island.
"I think getting excited on 17 there was a lot of pent-up frustrations," said Furyk. "I was starting to feel like this game is beating me up, and the losing hurts a lot more than winning feels good. I think I just forget how good it feels to win.
"I've let so many slide by. I really dug deep today and glad I got it done."
Overnight leader Troy Merritt could not keep pace with the two leaders and, after an outward 35, his chances effectively vanished when he carved his drive out of bounds at the 12th and ran up a double-bogey six.
To his credit, Merritt did bounce back when he holed his approach to the 16th for an unlikely eagle, and he rolled in a 25-foot putt for birdie and a round of 69 which earned him outright third place on 16 under.
Brendon Todd closed with his second bogey of the round to return a 67 and finish a shot further adrift, while Matt Kuchar struggled down the stretch and bogeyed two of his last four holes to drop to 14 under.
South African pair Louis Oosthuizen (67) and Branden Grace (69) secured top-10 finishes on 12 under, and a tired Spieth laboured to a 70 to share 11th on 10 under while Luke Donald had a mixed-bag of a 70 to close on nine under, one ahead of fellow Englishman Ian Poulter.
The PGA Tour now heads to Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Live coverage starts Thursday at 8pm on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf.