U.S. Open: Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk's closing 66 good for a T2

By Ron Borges
Published on
U.S. Open: Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk's closing 66 good for a T2

OAKMONT, Pa. -- The local boy made good yesterday at Oakmont. Just not quite as good as he would have liked.

Pittsburgh's homeboy, Jim Furyk, finished the 116th U.S. Open with a rush, shooting a 4-under 66 to get to 1-under for the tournament and a tie for second place behind Dustin Johnson. Had that been his score the last time the Open was at Oakmont, Furyk would have beaten Angel Cabrera in a walk but that year he finished 6-over to Cabrera's winning 5-over, tying for second. Such are the vagaries of golf.

This year, Furyk played far better than he did in 2007, but so did the competition. So, the 46-year-old Steelers season-ticket holder's dream of winning the national championship less than an hour from where he grew up remained unfulfilled. But that didn't mean he felt that way.

"It was fun," Furyk said of his four-day trek around Oakmont. "I had a great walk to 18 tee as well. Fans on both sides of the tee were excited. I had a ton of support this week from my birthplace, West Chester, I heard a lot. I heard Lancaster, where I grew up. I heard Manheim Township, where I went to high school. I heard all kinds of stuff from Western PA. My dad was a pro in Uniontown. I heard every little town and borough through here.

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"My mom and dad grew up in Natrona Heights and Lower Burrell. I heard that. I heard their high schools being called out. I had a lot of places claiming me. It was a lot of fun."

What was not a lot of fun was that after he birdied 17, his fifth of the day, to get to 2-under, he bogeyed 18. It was a hole he'll remember for the reception he received but also for what it might have been.

"I would have loved to have made that putt on 18 for par or, now looking back, if I could have knocked it up there and made a birdie to go 3-under while (the leaders were) on the 10th tee, that would have been a nice exclamation point," he said.

"It would have been fun to knock in a 3 (birdie) and then have them look at it and say, 'Well, shoot, there's the number. We've got to beat 3.' It didn't work out that way."

It did not but other than leaving with the trophy, things could not have worked out much better for the kid from Western PA, a kid no more, coming home with his name near the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open once again. Not so 'easy'

Defending U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth's disappointing 9-over scorecard left him not only well off the pace but lamenting the few easy holes on the Oakmont course. It was those holes, he said after shooting a 5-over 75, that were his undoing.

"The story of my week is just playing the easy holes poorly," Spieth explained. "You know, 11, 14, and 2, to play in whatever I played them, 7- or 8-over (6 actually), on those holes the leaders are playing them under par.

"Funny thing is I felt like I didn't have my game this week. If I play the easy holes at even par (actually 3-over), I'm still top 5. That's what's tough to swallow leaving this week is you do all this work on this course, and it was the easy little iron/wedge holes that tore me apart. I think that's just kind of bad timing on them."

Landry falters

All it took was three holes for Andrew Landry to tumble down the leaderboard Saturday.

He didn't crack.

When the day ended, Landry was at 3-under par, just 2 shots behind leader Shane Lowry, when darkness suspended the third round with five holes still to play. He was ready for some sleep, and he sounded ready for the biggest day of his golf life.

"Just go and hit a bunch of greens and maybe the putts go in, maybe they don't," he said. "So we'll see."

It didn't happen.

Landry, ranked No. 624 in the world and never on a stage this big, shot a final-round 78 to finish at 5-over for the tournament and in a tie for 15th place.

He captivated the golfing world with his opening-round 66, the best start in 10 majors at Oakmont, breaking the mark held by Ben Hogan and Tom Watson.

Oppenheim solid

Andover's pride, Rob Oppenheim, finished in a tie for 37th place with Spieth, among others. His 9-over score is a solid performance on a U.S. Open course. He was 3-over 73 on yesterday after three days of 2-over 72s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article was written by Ron Borges from The Boston Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.