Furyk falls short on his ‘home’ course
KAPALUA, Maui » If Jim Furyk had found only one shot a day, he would have been in the playoff with Stuart Appleby and Vijay Singh at this week's Mercedes Championships.
As it was, the part-time Kapalua resident, who owns a home along the gulch at the 18th green, was a model of consistency. He shot four consecutive 72s to finish at 4-under 288, four shots off the pace set by three-time champion Appleby.
"The front nine, I had some opportunities," Furyk said of yesterday's final round. "I missed a short birdie at six and bogeyed seven. I still shot even par. On the back, had good opportunities at (Nos. 14-16), but just couldn't get one to go in. I was trying, but it didn't work out."
Furyk championed the redesign of the Plantation Course all week, saying the new greens were a thing of beauty. He also conceded the weather was tough, but not out of the ordinary for those who live here yearlong.
This was Furyk's ninth appearance on Maui, including the Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua International. He has finished in the top 10 eight times, winning the International in 1995 and the Mercedes in 2001.
Now, it's on to the Sony Open in Hawaii, where life will be different for the 22 golfers going from the fat and sassy Plantation Course to the ultra-thin Waialae Country Club.
"Totally (different)," Furyk said. "It will be a big adjustment. This is a big, wide-open golf course, a lot of slope, a lot of undulation, wide fairways, wind. Over there, narrow, bowling-alley fairways, kind of flat greens, but very, very quick.
"There are a lot of opposites other than we're in Hawaii. But both good golf courses. A lot of fun in both places. I'm looking forward to it."
Appleby in rare company: Appleby became only the second player to win the Mercedes three straight times, joining Gene Littler, who won from 1955 to '57 at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. The Australian is one of six players to win it back-to-back, along with Littler, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Lanny Wadkins.
The 34-year-old is the first player since Tiger Woods to win three consecutive times at the same event. Woods won four in a row at the Bay Hill Invitational, with the last occurring in 2003. Woods also won three consecutive times at the Memorial Tournament and the WGC-NEC Invitational.
Taylor made: Vaughn Taylor doesn't roll off the tongue as one of the top professional golfers in the world, but he certainly enjoys this tournament and the one in Reno, Nev.
He has qualified for the Mercedes the last two years by winning the Reno Tahoe Open twice. Last year here, he managed a top-10 finish by tying for eighth. This year, he finished in a tie for fourth with U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell.
Inside the numbers: Out of the eight years the Plantation Course has hosted the Mercedes Championships, this week is the sixth time the event has been decided by one shot or a playoff. The two exceptions were extraordinary performances by David Duval, who won by nine shots in 1999, and Ernie Els, whose 31-under effort in 2003 left him seven shots clear of K.J. Choi.
The toughest hole for the day and the week was the par-4 third. The scoring average yesterday was 4.571. For the week, it was 4.455, with four birdies, 65 pars, 32 bogeys, 10 doubles and one triple.
The easiest hole yesterday was the par-5 fifth, where Singh and Appleby managed eagles. The scoring average was a nice 4.536. The easiest hole for the tourney was the par-5 18th with a scoring average of 4.813. There was one eagle, 34 birdies, 62 pars and 15 bogeys.