As the overnight co-leaders turned onto the back nine at Westchester Country Club on Sunday, nobody was seriously closing and they appeared to have turned their round into match play. At tourney’s close, Furyk wrote the next chapter in how not to close out a win, while Harrington exulted after sinking an amazing 65-foot putt on 18 for eagle.
As play unfolded on Sunday, Harrington’s putter did the work of a shovel, digging a hole that took 15 frames to recover from. Short putts were missed on 2 and 3, resulting in bogey and double bogey, respectively. A successful putt for birdie from 10 feet on 7 closed the gap to two strokes.
The ninth hole foreshadowed much of what was to come, with Harrington nearly stiffing his approach shot from some 200 yards. He knocked in a seven-foot putt for the first of two eagles on the day. Furyk, meanwhile, saw his eagle putt from 35 feet rim the cup. As Furyk settled for birdie, Harrington had drawn back to within one stroke.
Harrington got a big break on 10, when Furyk’s birdie putt from three feet was pushed left of the cup. But Harrington seemed ready to give it away with bogeys on 11 and 12, dropping to three strokes behind. He got one of those back with a birdie at 14, then Furyk gifted him with two more strokes by going bogey-bogey at 16 and 17, while Harrington played those holes to par.
Back to even on the 18th tee, Harrington made the most of his chance by reaching the green in two. Furyk needed three to get there and the issue became moot before he even unsheathed his putter. Harrington had to go down a valley and over a ridge to reach the cup, but he read the putt perfectly and a good thing for him, as Furyk then finished out by sinking his birdie putt.
“This putt broke in and did everything it should have,” Harrington said. “I can’t believe that. I feel sorry for Jim. To hole a putt like that on the final hole is very special. I kept in there all day and just got the breaks at the end.”
Furyk admitted that he aided and abetted Harrington in his victory charge.
“I opened the door a little bit with the bogey on 16,” Furyk said. “And then missing the short one on 17. I make that putt 99 percent of the time.”
As for events on the 18th green, Furyk was philosophical.
“He just hit a fabulous putt,” Furyk said. “It went right in the center. There’s nothing you can really do.”
The 18th green was the same place where Harrington flubbed a putt on the first playoff hole last year that would have won the tournament. Instead, that honor went to Sergio Garcia.
The winner admitted a deep admiration and respect for the Harrison, N.Y. layout, which he has competed over just twice.
“This is a fantastic golf course,” Harrington said. “You are under pressure all the time to get the ball in the right position on the greens and if you are slightly out of position, this course is scary.”
Harrington’s final score of 274 (71-65-68-70) was 10 under par for the tournament and enriched him by $1,035,000. The victory was his second of 2005, as he won the Honda Classic in March. He now stands ninth on the money list for the year with $2,288,406. Vijay Singh leads with $5,683,475.
Graeme McDowell also recaptured the form that propelled him up the world rankings earlier this year, as he played to a 32nd-place tie. He rose as high as 14th place after the third round, but was hampered by a poor close. He shot 287 overall (73-71-67-76) and collected $30,475.
Mark McNulty earned his first victory of 2005 when he sank a 14-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole in the Bank of America Championship at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord, Mass. He finished 54 holes of regulation on even terms with Don Pooley and Tom Purtzer, all carding 204.
McNulty suffered only one bogey over the final 18 holes, at the 8, but needed a birdie at 18 to get into the playoff. He’d birdied 18 in each of the two previous rounds and had to get up and down from a far bunker to continue on.
“When you smell something, when a great player smells something, when Tiger or Phil smells a win, you want to make the putt so much that you’re going to make it,” McNulty said of his winning putt on 17. “I never thought about missing it.”
McNulty, who shot 67, 69 and 68 in regulation, earned $240,000. But for a poor second round, Des Smyth might have argued the issue. He settled for a share of seventh place at 208 (69-73-66), good for $46,720.
Carl Mason shot a course-record 63 in the second round to deny Eamonn Darcy victory in the DeVere Northumberland Seniors Classic at DeVere Slaley Hall in England. Mason had three strokes on Darcy at the finish. Darcy shot 203 (68-68-67) for second place, carding only two bogeys over 54 holes.
“One of these days, I’m going to go one better,” said Darcy. “I’m playing well but there always seems to be someone playing that little bit better.”
The supporting cast included John Curtis, tied for 27th place at 213 (72-71-70), Denis O’Sullivan, in joint 49th place at 218 (75-71-72), Eddie Polland, amidst a trio in 54th position at 220 (74-75-71), Liam Higgins, who shared 65th place at 227 (73-80-74), and Paul Leonard, 70th at 230 (70-79-81).
The Irish contingent was largely ineffective in the French Open at Le Golf National in Paris. Stephen Browne’s shared 44th-place finish, with a score of 287 (68-76-69-74), was the best of the crew. Behind him came Paul McGinley, who was in joint 55th place at 289 (70-71-73-75), Peter Lawrie, tied for 68th at 292 (70-72-73-77), and Gary Murphy, part of a trio in 73rd at 293 (75-68-77-73). Philip Walton and Damien McGrane shot identical rounds of 76 and 72 to miss weekend qualifying by four strokes. Jean-Francois Remesy won the title before his countrymen after outlasting Jean Van de Velde in a playoff. Both men shot 273 in regulation.
Gareth Maybin moved up 13 rungs in the final round to get a piece of eighth place in the Touchstone Energy Open at Brook Valley Country Club in Greenville, N.C. His 283 (74-72-69-68) left him five strokes beneath par and as many strokes behind the medalist, D.J. Fiese. Maybin received $3,546.
GREY GOOSE GATEWAY TOUR
P.J. Cowan worked out a tie for eighth place in this circuit’s recent event at PGA North and PGA South in Port St. Lucie, Fla. At 274 (69-70-68-67), Cowan was 14 strokes under par for the tournament and six off the winning score posted by Aron Price. Sean Quinlivan got a share of 30th place with his 278 (70-68-68-72). Cowan’s earnings amounted to $3,660, while Quinlivan pocketed $1,385. Declan Glynn’s 154 (75-79) for 36 holes was 12 strokes above the cut line.
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Eamonn Brady issued his best performance in some time, taking a piece of fifth place in the Doncaster Open at Owston Hall in England. The former East Tennessee State star was just three strokes off Lee Rhind’s winning score at the conclusion. Brady carded rounds of 66, 73 and 68 for a total 207, which was nine strokes under par. His second round was plagued by a double bogey, followed by two bogeys beginning at the second hole. He finished the round with bogeys on 17 and 18. Noel Fox finished amidst a group in 24th place at 212 (72-69-71). Also going the distance were Michael McDermott, in joint 28th place at 213 (71-71-71), Ciaran McMonagle, tied for 44th place at 216 (68-71-77), and Padraig Dooley, who shared the 53rd spot at 217 (67-74-76).
Final-round scores that ran a bit on the high side kept the Irish contingent from a better showing at the Galeria Kaufhof Pokal Challenge at Rittergut Birkhof Golf Club in Germany. Michael Hoey’s 283 (69-67-72-75) was five under par for the event and good for a share of 49th place. Behind him came Justin Kehoe, tied for 58th place at 287 (73-67-73-74), and Peter Williamson, 67th at 290 (70-71-72-77). David Higgins, at 143 (69-74) for 36 holes, missed the cut by a stroke. Tim Rice, at 154 (78-76), was farther behind. Gareth Davies and Anders Hanson both finished 72 holes at 269 and went to a playoff, where Davies prevailed.