Furyk again falls short after holding 54-hole lead

REUTERS - For PGA Tour veteran Jim Furyk, it was once again a case of so close and yet so far as he relinquished the 54-hole lead to finish alone in third place at the weather-delayed BMW Championship Lake Forest, Illinois on Monday.

After spectacularly becoming only the sixth player to shoot a 59 on the U.S. circuit in Friday's second round at Conway Farms Golf Club, Furyk led by two shots with eight holes to play before recording three bogeys over the closing stretch.

It was the sixth time since his last PGA Tour victory at the 2010 Tour Championship that he had failed to triumph after holding the 54-hole lead of an event and the American was left to dwell on the positives and the negatives of his week.

"It'll be a little of both," Furyk told reporters after closing with a level-par 71 to finish at 13-under 271, three strokes behind winner Zach Johnson who stormed home with a 65.

"I never looked at it as I have to hold on to the lead," he said of the one-stroke advantage he enjoyed over fellow American Steve Stricker going into the final round. "It would have been like being 12 under on Friday and just trying to hold on.

"That's a definite bogey waiting to happen. I really felt like today the idea was to go out aggressive, hit the ball at the pins, try to shoot four or five under, make the rest of the field chase me."

COSTLY BOGEYS

Though Furyk played well enough over the front nine and sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the 10th to forge two ahead, bogeys at the 11th, 13th and 16th cost him dearly.

"I just wasn't able to do it," said the 43-year-old, who has now won only nine times out of 23 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

"When I look back, the long three-putt at 11 and missing that four or five footer for par on 13, those two holes kind of hit me in the tail.

"I hit the ball plenty good enough, but I didn't make the putts when I needed to. I don't know if I used them all up on Friday and knocked them all in or what, but I just wasn't able to get the putts to go."

A 16-times champion on the PGA Tour whose only major victory came at the 2003 U.S. Open, Furyk has failed to add to his career tally over the past three years despite several close calls.

At last year's U.S. Open, he squandered a golden opportunity to win a second major title when he bogeyed three of his last six holes to wind up in a five-way tie for fourth, two shots behind winner Webb Simpson.

Last month, Furyk led by one shot going into the final round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club but was outplayed by compatriot Jason Dufner, who carded a two-under-par 68 to claim his first major title by two strokes.

However, he has booked his place in the elite field of 30 for the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, starting at East Lake on Thursday, and knows that he is playing good golf overall.

"I'll be disappointed I didn't win (at Conway Farms), but I've got some positives," said Furyk, who has recorded seven top-10s in 21 starts on the 2013 PGA Tour.

"I'm playing really well on a golf course I like in Atlanta, and a win there could do some damage." (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Atlanta; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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