Jim Furyk Holds One-Stroke Tour Championship Lead, Woods Falters

Jim Furyk holds a one-shot lead over England’s Justin Rose entering today’s third round of the Tour Championship after shooting nine birdies yesterday in the final event of golf’s U.S. PGA Tour season.

Furyk is at 7 under par in the tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Fellow Americans Bubba Watson and Bo Van Pelt are tied for third at 5 under.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion, Furyk opened his second round with seven consecutive scores of three, including five birdies.

“I was just having fun writing three on the card,” Furyk, 42, whose last PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Tour Championship, told reporters. “I was marveling. I’ve never seen a card that pretty. It was obviously a fun day.”

The tournament caps a four-event playoff series and awards a $10 million bonus to the FedEx Cup points champion in addition to the $1.4 million tournament winner’s share. Furyk entered the event ranked 18th in the playoff standings and is unlikely to win the overall title even with a victory.

Along with other scenarios, Furyk would need points leader Rory McIlroy to finish 12th or worse and second-ranked Tiger Woods to finish fifth or worse. Any player among the top five in the standings can win the title with a victory. McIlroy and Woods are followed by Americans Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker in the standings.

Woods, who entered the second round tied for the lead with Rose, shot 3-over 73 yesterday, tying for the third-worst round of the day. He had four birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey to fall to 12th place.

“I didn’t play very good,” Woods said. “It was a struggle all day.”

Furyk was the day’s top performer with a 6-under 64. After finishing his opening nine holes in 6 under par, Furyk faltered down the stretch with bogeys on two of his final three holes. He missed a par putt from less than five feet on the 18th green for his third bogey of the round.

‘Bad Taste’

“That always leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Furyk said. “But all in all, I’m in good spirits.”

Woods had back-to-back bogeys on holes 11 and 12, where he missed a 3-foot par putt, and ended his day with a par on the 18th after bogeys on the two previous holes.

McIlroy, a 23-year-old from Northern Ireland who has won three of his past four U.S. events including the PGA Championship, is tied for seventh at 3 under after a 2-under 68.

“I’m only four shots back,” said McIlroy, who is playing in the event for the first time. “So I’ve still got a good chance going into the weekend.”

Mickelson was paired with McIlroy in the second round and is tied for 16th at even par after scores of 69 and 71.

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