Furyk finds ace in sleeve

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Jim Furyk arrived at Angus Glen in Markham yesterday morning and issued a deafening wakeup call to the competition.

The defending Canadian Open champion fired birdies at Nos. 1 and 3 and followed that up with a hole-in-one on the par-three fourth to take the lead away from third-round leader Vijay Singh.

Singh, the 2004 champion, wasn't prepared to give up his lead without a fight, but the classy Furyk held on to shoot a seven-under 64 and become the first person to defend a Canadian Open title since Jim Ferrier in 1951.

"You dream of a start like that, basically," Furyk said after winning his 13th career PGA title. "I wanted to keep the pedal down (after that). I have a lot of respect for Vijay and his game and I expected him to fire a pretty good number. So to get off to a good jump, I thought was the key."

Furyk, 37, entered the day three strokes behind Singh, two behind Steve Allan and John Mallinger and one behind Hunter Mahan. But he put together one of the best rounds of the tournament, shooting six birdies, as well as the hole-in-one. His lone bogey came on the 18th hole, where he three-putted for the first time all week, lipping out on his second putt from five feet out. That miss also cut his lead on Singh to one stroke.

"I would have loved to have closed the door there and know I was going to win the tournament, but it was one of those times that it didn't hurt," Furyk said.

Needing a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff, Singh put his second shot about 23 feet from the hole but missed the uphill, right-to-left putt, and the $900,000 US first-prize money went to Furyk.

Furyk watched Singh's final three shots from the stairway leading up from the 18th hole to the clubhouse, along with his wife Tabita, daughter Caleigh and son, T.J.

AVOIDS PLAYOFF

"As I was walking off the green, I told my caddy: 'Let's prepare for a playoff, let's be ready to go,' " he said. "Obviously, I didn't want to go out there and play any more, I wanted to win it outright. I was just hoping that my three-putt, my bogey on the (18th), wasn't going to cost me. I really played my heart out."

Singh finished the day with a three-under 68 while Americans Ryan Palmer and George McNeill, who both shot scores of five-under 66, tied for third, three strokes behind Furyk, who now has three aces on the Tour. Furyk became the first player since Mark Hensby in 2004 at the John Deere Classic to score a hole-in-one and win the tournament.

Fan favourite Mike Weir, a native of Bright's Grove, Ont., who lost the 2004 Open to Singh in a playoff at Glen Abbey, shot an even-par 71, picking up bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4 and only two birdies on the day, to finish at minus five, tied for 34th.

"It wasn't what expected. I thought I was going to shoot a good score today," said Weir, who had problems with his drives all week. "It felt good on the range and everything was going well and I hit some good shots to start on the day, but to be two over through four after hitting some good shots was a shock, really."

Stephen Ames finished as the top Canadian, shooting a two-under 69 on the day to finish tied for 27th.


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