PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson have sharply contrasting playing styles and took very different routes on Friday but the American duo finished up in the same spot at the Northern Trust Open.
Playing together in a high-profile grouping with U.S. Open champion Justin Rose at Riviera Country Club, medium-length hitter Furyk and ‘Master Blaster’ Johnson both posted six-under totals of 136 after the second round.
PGA Tour veteran Furyk, long known for his accuracy and an unorthodox, loopy swing, fired a second successive three-under-par 68 while Johnson, who regularly powers drives more than 300 yards, carded a 70.
Followed by some of the biggest galleries of the week on another gorgeous day of dazzling sunshine at Riviera, the two Americans may have looked like an ‘odd couple’ in golfing terms but Furyk was completely unfazed.
“I passed that stage 18 years ago,” a smiling Furyk told reporters when asked if he played any differently when paired with a ‘big bomber’ at a tournament.
”My game is more about accuracy and trying to keep it in play. There are other things that I‘m very good at and I have to capitalize on those and worry more about my strengths than I do my weaknesses.
“I went to college as a kind of very long player and somewhat wild, and kind of came out of college a lot straighter but much shorter. That’s the way I ended up playing my best golf.”
Furyk’s recipe has certainly reaped rich reward as the 43-year-old has so far piled up 16 wins during a stellar PGA Tour career. Yet he fully appreciates the attraction of power hitters like Johnson when it comes to the fans.
”He has an exciting game, and it’s fun to watch,“ said Furyk. ”I enjoy playing with Dustin and he’s got a lot of talent.
“It’s fun watching guys hit it 30 and 40 yards by (you) but far as affecting my game, I realize that’s not my style. I just go out there and play the way I know best and again, try to take advantage of the things that I‘m very good at.”
Furyk, who has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since his astonishing 2010 campaign when he won three times to end the season with FedExCup honors, is delighted with his progress so far this week.
”Any time you shoot three-under here, you’re happy about it,“ he said after a round that included five birdies and two bogeys. ”I played real solid, kept the ball in front of me all day.
”Made a couple bogeys, made some mistakes here and there where I could have got the ball up and down but made some nice putts and a couple saves, some good solid birdie putts.
“I feel comfortable with the way I‘m striking the ball and I was real pleased with the putter and the way I rolled it the first two days.”
Furyk, like Johnson, will go into Saturday’s third round three shots behind the pacesetting Bae Sang-moon of South Korea.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ian Ransom