Furyk rides a big wave

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

ANCASTER -- The cream simply rose to the top.

Jim Furyk, the third-ranked golfer in the world and the second leading money winner on this year's PGA Tour, closed the deal yesterday at the Canadian Open.

Furyk turned in a near flawless performance coming out of the pack as he fired a five-under par 65 to win by a shot over Bart Bryant.

After Furyk birdied the par-three, 13th, to move to 13 under and opened a two-shot bulge on his nearest competitors -- Sean O'Hair, Jonathan Byrd and Bart Bryant -- the tournament seemed to be his.

Then O'Hair rolled in a 34-foot putt on No. 16 and Bryant chipped in from the greenside rough on the 14th to allow both golfers to get back to within a stroke.

Furyk, however, replied with a birdie on the par-five 17th to seal the deal at 14-under. And after he completed his round by holing a testy four-footer, it was a matter of waiting for the final three groups to finish before he was declared the winner of his second tournament this season.

Bryant, who canned a 23-footer on the 17th for a birdie to get to 13-under, needed to hole a 60-foot putt on No. 18 for the tie. He pulled it left and settled for second.

"The best player won the tournament today," Bryant conceded. "There are not too many guys playing better than Jim Furyk these days. He's got a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum.

"I figured Jim would have a great week because this course is really up his alley."

With his first-place cheque of $900,000, Furyk moved past the $6-million figure in earnings for the season.

The 36-year-old resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is the second hottest golfer on the planet topped only by you know who.

Furyk's consistency of play has been outstanding. In his past seven tournaments, he has finished fourth or better six times. Besides his two wins, he has three seconds, three thirds and in 21 tournaments has 11 top 10s.

Hey Phil, move over.

"It's been a good solid year so far," said Furyk who had six birdies and one bogey in his final round. "It's only the second season where I've had multiple wins. I keep comparing this year to 2003 when I had a breakout year and won the U.S. Open. So it's been a great year, and I still have some events left, so hopefully I can keep riding the wave and finish it out really well."

The next test for Furyk comes in two weeks time as a member of the U.S. squad that will take on Europe at the Ryder Cup in Ireland. Winning here can do nothing but boost his confidence that much higher.

"I think it helps," he said. "I like to play my way into shape. I don't want to take a couple of weeks off and show up at the Ryder Cup."

His reason for being here was simple -- it was the Hamilton Golf and Country Club Course.

"I had heard so much good about Hamilton, it just fit in there perfectly as a preparation," he said of his Ryder Cup run-up. "It's also the Canadian Open, the third oldest and played at a good golf course.

"Had this event been played in October or June, I was coming because of the golf course and what I heard about it. But looking at the schedule and trying to prepare leading up to the Ryder Cup, it was nice to come here, a place where I was comfortable and played well."

He did and as he later promised, he'll be back.


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