Jim Furyk ended more than two years without a victory on Sunday when he holed key putts on the final two holes for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory in the Chevron World Challenge, edging out Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell.
It was a fitting conclusion to a week dominated by talk of host Tiger Woods: A guy wearing red shirts and black trousers came through with the clutch putts with the tournament on the line, and leaving a trio of Brits disappointed.
Woods, the tournament host, wasn’t around to present the trophy to one of his favourite players on the PGA Tour. He withdrew because of injuries from his November 27 car crash.
Over the final few hours, attention shifted to a golf tournament in which six players had a share of the lead at some point Sunday.
Furyk finished at 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory over McDowell, who replaced Woods in the 18-man field. McDowell needed to hole out from the fairway to force a playoff, and it looked for a moment as if it had a chance.
McDowell settled for a birdie and a 70, and his second-place finish moved him up to No. 38 in the World Rankings and virtually assured him a spot in the Masters next year.
Westwood had a birdie chip to force a playoff, then missed a 4-foot par putt and had to settle for a 70 and a two-way tie for third with Harrington, who had two chip-in eagles in his round of 70.
Furyk took the lead with a birdie on the 10th and never trailed again, although he was in trouble on the par-3 17th when his tee shot tumbled down the slope into a bunker. He blasted out 35 feet beyond the hole, then made the par putt to keep his one-shot lead.
Realising he was being chased, Furyk went right at the flag on the 18th and watched it settle 5 feet below the cup. When he reached the green, he saw that Westwood had birdied the 17th to tie him.
Furyk holed the putt, then watched to see if anyone could catch him.
It was his first victory since the 2007 Canadian Open, and along with $1.35 million, the victory moved Furyk to No. 6 in the world.
“It’s bothered me,” Furyk said of his victory drought. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise. That’s your goal every year to go out and win, and I haven’t been able to do it. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone.”