Sport - National
Furyk's motivation to win _ anywhere
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) _ Jim Furyk has steadily built a solid career and is easily considered one of the best golfers in the world.
But unlike some of the game's biggest stars who groom themselves for majors, Furyk gets primed for every event he's in.
``Winning golf tournaments is what's important,'' Furyk said Friday after shooting a 67 to move to 11-under par for a two-stroke lead over four others at the Verizon Heritage.
Furyk has 10 victories, including the 2003 U.S. Open. He has finished in the top five on the money list four times during his career, a profile where pointing to the majors and other big events like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods would be understandable.
``But I think coming out and trying to win golf tournaments is what we all compete for,'' he said. ``And I'll put a special asterisk next to trying to win a major championship.''
For Furyk, that'll wait until the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in June. Right now, he's focused on playing two more rounds at Harbour Town Golf Links as cleanly as he did the first two.
Furyk added his own touch to the layout's famous 18th hole, rolling in a 56-foot birdie putt hours after Aaron Baddeley's unlikely eagle there.
Putting from the back fringe, Furyk had simply hoped for a good lag and an easy par on the final hole. Instead, he watched his ball strike the flagstick and fall in. His 4-under left him two strokes in front of Baddeley (67), Brian Gay (67), Duffy Waldorf (68) and first-round leader Vaughn Taylor (70).
Furyk's long birdie also added to Friday's excitement near the lighthouse hole.
Baddeley capped a late charge _ he had three birdies and the eagle in his final five holes _ at the magnificent seaside hole featuring Sea Pines' red-and-white striped lighthouse as a backdrop.
Baddeley struck a smooth 8-iron about 160 yards that hit the green and bounced into the cup. The 25-year-old Australian heard the crowd's cheers and wondered how close he had gotten.
``When I got up there, the ball wasn't anywhere to be seen,'' Baddeley said.
The hole, crafted by architect Pete Dye along Calibogue Sound, has seen its share of amazing shots. Three years ago, Davis Love III chipped in a tying birdie on the 72nd hole, then struck the flag stick for a tap-in birdie during the playoff for his fifth Harbour Town title.
Tournament officials said Baddeley's was the third eagle there since 1983. Lee Janzen accomplished it during the final round in 1997, then Mike Hulbert matched it in the second round two years later.
Furyk and Baddeley had similar second rounds _ strong play early, bad mistakes in the middle and surges at the end.
For Furyk he had birdies on four of his first seven holes to take the lead. However, bogeys on the eight and ninth holes backed him into a tie with Baddeley.
``I wanted to hit good shots and put the ball on the green and stop the bleeding at that point,'' Furyk said.
That's what he did, moving in front again with a birdie on the 15th hole. After getting fooled by the wind on his last hole, Furyk said he ``got a little extra bonus'' with the long birdie.
Furyk has not won since last year's Western Open. However, he tied for third in The Players Championship last month and likes the way he's playing.
``I got in a little bit of a tough jam,'' he said. ``But it was nice to fight through it and keep it going.''
Baddeley moved within a shot of the lead with two birdies on his first five holes. He found problems on the par-4 eighth, knocking an approach out of bounds for a 7. A series of pars settled his nerves until his five-hole flourish at the end _ Baddeley closed 2-4-3-3-2 on the scorecard.
Baddeley said despite the triple bogey, ``I was still only four off the lead. So I thought if you make a few coming in, you're going to be right there for the weekend.''