(Reuters) - Jim Furyk, who dusted off his clubs this week after a five-month break, surged into the lead after the third round at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday.
In his first event since the Tour Championship last September, the former U.S. Open champion carded a nine-under-par 63 on another sunny day at Pebble Beach on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
Furyk birdied seven of the final 10 holes to vault past Australian Matt Jones, who led until he bogeyed his final two holes.
Furyk posted an 18-under 197 total, one stroke ahead of fellow American Brandt Snedeker (67) and Jones (67), with Californian Nick Watney (65) two shots back. All four frontrunners played at Pebble Beach, one of three courses used for the event.
Furyk arrived at Pebble Beach with an open mind about the state of his game.
“I didn’t really have any expectations,” he told Golf Channel. “I just wanted to come in, find my game and figure where I was at and I’ve been in a good frame of mind.
“I’ve found a way to get the ball in the hole this week even though maybe at times I didn’t hit the greatest shots.
He attributed that to being fresh and not playing for a while.
”I might not have been as sharp but my attitude’s been able to overcome some of that,” he said.
Jones looked like he would be sitting on the 54-hole lead when he reeled off six birdies in seven holes from his 10th hole (the first), but he missed shortish putts at his final two holes.
Snedeker, who shared the halfway lead with Jones, was steady rather than spectacular, notching six birdies and one bogey for his 16th consecutive round of par or better.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry