LAKE FOREST — With a shot at golf’s magic number, Jim Furyk had no trouble finishing the job.
Furyk birdied two of his last holes, stuffing a gap wedge into just over 3 feet on his final hole Friday at the BMW Championship, and knocked in the putt to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59.
Standing in the ninth fairway at Conway Farms, 103 yards from a front pin, Furyk didn’t want to let his chance get away from him.
“I said, ‘How many opportunities are you going to have in life to do this again?'” he said. “Got to take advantage of it. Tried to knock it in there tight and make it as easy on yourself as you can.”
The gallery lined both sides of the fairway about 150 yards down from the green and gave him a huge ovation when he walked onto the green. One fan screamed out, “Jimmy, I’ll give it you!” Furyk smiled and waved at him.
He made the putt and repeatedly pumped his fist, turning for the gallery in the grandstands to see, and then he hugged caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan and tapped him on the head. It looked like a Sunday afternoon, and had the occasion of a winning putt.
This at least gave Furyk a share of the lead at the BMW Championship with Brandt Snedeker, who was nine shots clear of Furyk at the start of the day and shot 68.
It was the first 59 on the PGA Tour since Stuart Appleby in the final round of The Greenbrier Classic in 2010.
The others with a 59 were Al Geiberger in the 1977 Memphis Classic; Chip Beck in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational; David Duval in the 1999 Bob Hope Classic; and Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic.
“There’s not much I could have improved on today,” Furyk said.
For a change, everything went right at the end. Furyk has been haunted in the last two years with a bogey on the 16th hole that cost him a shot at the 2012 U.S. Open, a double bogey at Firestone last year that kept him from winning a World Golf Championship, a bogey-bogey finish in the Ryder Cup to lose a key match to Sergio Garcia last year in Chicago, and a one-shot lead he failed to hold just last month at the PGA Championship.
Making it worse, he was left off a U.S. team for the first time in 15 years when Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples did not make him a wild-card selection. On this day, Furyk gave Couples 59 reasons to reconsider.