ATLANTA (Reuters) - Jim Furyk will go into Sunday’s final round at the Tour Championship where FedExCup honours and a $10 million bonus are also on the line with a sense of deja vu after clinching both titles in 2010.
Four years ago, American Furyk went into the fourth and final playoff event ranked 11th in the FedExCup standings while this year he was seeded seventh coming into East Lake.
Both then and now, he has kept his strategy simple, and blinkered himself from all the various scenarios that could lead to the overall playoff title.
“I did well in 2010, because I really kind of kept my head down and didn’t look at the projections and the leaderboard,” Furyk, 44, told reporters after moving into third place by shooting a three-under-par 67 in Saturday’s third round.
”I was just trying to win the golf tournament and let everything else fall as it may, and tomorrow I‘m just going to go out there and do the same things.
“I‘m more interested in trying to win the golf tournament. I’ll be thinking about my mind frame and physically what I need to do tomorrow in order to put myself in that position.”
In 2010, Furyk led by one shot going into the final round and held his nerve over a shaky closing stretch at a rain-sodden East Lake to triumph by a stroke, landing FedExCup honours and the $10 million jackpot in the process.
This year, he trails by two shots heading into the final round, though he gave himself good momentum after covering the back nine in three-under 32 on Saturday.
Beautiful wedge approaches set up short birdie putts at the 12th and 13th before he drained a 38-footer at the par-four 16th to get to seven under for the tournament.
“To knock in that long one at 16 felt good and I finished with some very good shots on the last two holes,” said Furyk, a 16-times winner on the PGA Tour.
“To finish the last three in one under is a nice finish as well because 16, 17 and 18 are always difficult holes.”
For Furyk to claim FedExCup honours on Sunday, he needs to win the Tour Championship with overall points leader Chris Kirk finishing in a three-way tie for second or worse, along with several other scenarios.
”The scenario is pretty simple I thought: I had to win,“ smiled Furyk. ”I don’t really care (about scenarios).
”If (the top five) five control their own destiny, I’ve gotta be in pretty good shape (ranked) at seven where the first couple of guys is dependent. I guess that would be Chris and Billy (Horschel).
“I don’t care. It’s not going to affect anything about the golf tournament tomorrow.”
Any of the top five in the points standings would clinch the FedExCup by winning the Tour Championship - and that quintet comprises top-ranked Kirk, Horschel (second), Bubba Watson (third), Rory McIlroy (fourth) and Hunter Mahan (fifth).
Horschel and McIlroy are in pole position as they head into the final round tied for the tournament lead. Kirk is in a share of seventh place, four shots off the pace.
Editing by John O'Brien