A HAPLESS Jim Furyk looked like he’d lead the 2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational all the way after opening with a 7-under 73 and maintaining his winning advantage for the next three rounds.
That was until it all went horribly wrong on the 72nd hole and the 42 year old American golfer double-bogeyed and allowed upstart Keegan Bradley to take home his winner’s cheque of US$1.4 million.
Furyk began the final round at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, with three straight birdies, putting himself six strokes ahead of playing partner Bradley.
He was in almost total control for much is his final round as changing course conditions made scoring easier.
Even his wayward tee shot on the 18th found an obliging tree and ricocheted out into the fairway.
That’s where it all became unstuck. His iron approach shot landed in the greenside bunker at the back of the green and hopped into the thick collar of grass behind it. He fluffed the downhill lie chip shot across the bunker into more thick collar, then clunked his next chip over five foot from the hole.
A bogey would have been enough for his first win since 2010 but as he said later: “I hit my worst putt of the week.”
Bradley meanwhile had been plugged in the bunker but got up and down with a magnificent pressure 15 foot putt to save par.
“I’ve got no one to blame but myself,” Furyk said. “There’s no way I should have made more than 5.”
Bradley finished at 13-under with a 6-under 64 with Furyk (69) a stroke back tied with Steve Stricker (64). After being well in contention throughout, Louis Oosthuizen (69) missed his final birdie putt to be alone in fourth on 11-under.
“It makes it sweeter because of the caliber of player Jim is, such a great guy, Jim, and he’s been so great to me. I’ve played a bunch of practice rounds with him. I really look up to the guy. And to be coming down the stretch with a guy like Jim Furyk battling is — you dream about it,” Bradley said.
“I went through it with Phil at Riviera. And it’s moments like that where you kind of have to pinch yourself, where two years ago, three years ago I was in Hawkinsville, Georgia, playing on the Hooters Tour grinding it out. It’s just an amazing experience.”
Rory McIlroy (68) and Justin Rose (67) were tied fifth on 8-under.
The best placed Aussie was Aaron Baddeley who closed with his second 66 of the tournament to be tied for 8th along with Tiger Woods (66), Luke Donald (70), Matt Kuchar (66) and others. John Senden (72) finished at 3-under and Geoff Ogilvy (70) 1-under.
Bradley will be on a high as he goes into this week as defending champion at the season’s final regular Major, the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean), Kiawah Island, South Carolina.2012 WGC- Bridgestone Invitational Leaderboard