Jim Furyk wins 2007 Canadian Open
- Low Canadian Stephen Ames claims Rivermead Trophy -
Markham, Ont. (RCGA) – One hole and one unbelievable shot ensured that Jim Furyk’s Canadian Open had a different ending than so many tournaments before it.
Furyk made a hole-in-one early in his round Sunday and never looked back in winning golf’s third-oldest national championship for a second straight year.
He edged Vijay Singh by a stroke.
It gave Furyk his first victory of the season and the 13th of a career that has seemed much better than the win total indicates.
“I feel like I probably should’ve won more events,” he said. “This past year I’ve had a lot of close calls and a lot of ones that stung and a lot of ones that hurt. It makes getting over the hump and winning a tournament like today that much more special.”
Furyk is the first to win back-to-back Canadian Opens since Jim Ferrier in 1950 and 1951.
That record was even older than the one that the homegrown players will have to again hear about in 2008. Neither Calgary’s Stephen Ames nor Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., was able to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win this tournament.
Ames closed with a 2-under 69 to finish tied for 27th, while Weir was 34th after an even-par 71.
Their rounds ended early, just as the battle between Furyk and Singh was starting. Furyk began the day trailing the big Fijian by three shots, but erased that quickly. Birdies at hole Nos. 1 and 2 were followed by the hole-in-one at No. 4.
“You dream of a start like that basically,” said Furyk. “To have that happen and put yourself in good position in the tournament. I was basically starting even with the leaders at that point.”
The fourth hole ended up deciding the event. Furyk needed just seven strokes to play the 209-yard hole during the week, while Singh took 15.
The shot the champion will always remember was struck with a five-iron and landed softly in the fringe before rolling straight into the cup. It was the third ace of Furyk’s PGA Tour career.
“It was a special day,” said Furyk. “I just feel like a million dollars.”
He led the rest of the way, but the day wasn’t without entertainment. Singh and Furyk were the two most recognizable faces in the field and they battled right down to the 18th hole.
Singh had a birdie putt of about 20 feet at the final hole that would have sent the tournament to a playoff.
“I had my chances, but I couldn’t get it going on the front nine,” he said after closing with a 68. “Jim played the front 4- or 5-under, so that’s a big swing there. I had a chance on the last, but Jim played well. Anyone who shoots 7-under on the last day is deserving.”
Furyk earned a cheque for US$900,000 from the $5-million event and moved up to fourth on the PGA Tour’s money list. He has eight top-10 finishes in 18 events this season _ including a tie for second at the U.S. Open.
The winner of the 2003 U.S. Open has high expectations for himself. He grew up in Pennsylvania as the son of a golf pro and believes he has what it takes to be the best.
“I didn’t work all my life to finish in the top-10 all the time,” said the 37-year-old Furyk. “I didn’t dream of having 14 top-10 finishes and making a lot of money when I was a kid. I dreamed of winning titles and holding a trophy.”
The Canadian Open is lucky to have him as a repeat champion.
The tournament was played for a second straight year without a title sponsor during a week when most of the top players chose to sit at home. Furyk committed to this year’s tournament right after winning at Hamilton Golf and Country Club last fall.
He’ll also play next year at Glen Abbey. Tournament director Bill Paul has certainly appreciated the way Furyk has supported the event.
“When I’ve been on tour and had the opportunity to talk to Jim, he’s been nothing but first class,” said Paul. “I think it all started, you know, for this event with what he said in the media centre at Hamilton last year that he would be back to defend and it was a matter of honour.”
For his part, Furyk believes he shouldn’t be praised for simply defending a title.
But he did go above and beyond here this week. Furyk spoke at a meeting for potential sponsors on Wednesday and talked about his affinity for the Canadian Open. He wants to see the tournament revived.
“I know in my heart that every event is working their hardest and trying their best to become the biggest and best event they can be,” said Furyk. “But meeting the people and playing a round of golf with them and hearing their sincerity, you get that special personal vibe.”
Furyk leaves now for a world golf championship event and the PGA Championship in consecutive weeks.
He’ll be looking to add to that win total and will probably have a few more people hoping to see it happens. There seems to be a budding relationship blooming between Furyk and Canadian golf fans.
“It’s been great coming to Canada the last two years,” said Furyk. “I’ll see you next year.”
For a complete listing of final-round scores from the 2007 Canadian Open, please visit www.thecanadianopen.ca or www.pgatour.com.
The following are final-round Canadian scores for Sunday, July 29, 2007.
(7,320 yards, Par 71)
T27 Stephen Ames, Calgary, Alta. 70-69-69-69--277 (-7)
T34 Mike Weir, Brights Grove, Ont. 71-70-67-71--279 (-5)
T58 David Hearn, Brantford, Ont. 65-73-73-73--284 (E)
T71 Chris Baryla, Vernon, B.C. 74-66-74-72--286 (+2)
--missed cut --
T91 Derek Gillespie, Oshawa, Ont. 70-73--143 (+1)
T91 Danny King, Milton, Ont. 75-68--143 (+1)
T91 James Lepp, Abbotsford, B.C. 73-70--143 (+1)
T91 Wes Heffernan, Calgary, Alta. 72-71--143 (+1)
T91 Graham DeLaet, Weyburn, Sask. 68-75--143 (+1)
T110 James Love, Calgary, Alta. 76-68--144 (+2)
T110 Jim Rutledge, Victoria, B.C. 73-71--144 (+2)
T120 Andrew Parr, London, Ont. 79-66--145 (+3)
T120 Richard Scott, Kingsville, Ont. 73-72--145 (+3)
T132 Ian Leggatt, Cambridge, Ont. 74-73--147 (+5)
T137 Brad Fritsch, Manotick, Ont. 71-77--148 (+6)
T137 Victor Ciesielski, Cambridge, Ont. 73-75--148 (+6)
T140 Kevin Senecal, Montreal, Que. 77-73--150 (+8)
T144 David Morland IV, Aurora, Ont. 75 77--152 (+10)
T147 Bryn Parry, Vancouver, B.C. 78-75--153 (+11)
T150 Brian McCann, Mississauga, Ont. 79-79--158 (+16)
Alan McLean, South Africa (resident of London, Ont.) 71-71--142 (E)
Ben Ferguson, New Zealand (resident of Ancaster, Ont.) 74-72--146 (+4)
(a) denotes amateur