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New Father Furyk Wins First U.S. Open


| Jun 15, 2003 | Olympia Fields, Ill.

(USGA/John Mummert)

Celebrating his first Father’s Day as a parent, Jim Furyk closed with a 2-over-par 72 and a three-stroke victory over Australian Stephen Leaney at Olympia Fields (Ill.) C.C. Furyk’s 8-under total of 272 tied the U.S. Open scoring record shared by Jack Nicklaus (1980), Lee Janzen (1993) and Tiger Woods (2000), although he could have broken the mark had he not posted bogeys on the final two holes. He also established a 54-hole record of 200 (10 under par) with rounds of 67-66-67. Leaney also shot a 72 the final day.

The championship began with plenty of emotion and drama as 53-year-old Tom Watson, competing under a special exemption from the USGA, carded a 5-under 65 to share the first-round lead with Brett Quigley. Watson, along with his longtime caddie Bruce Edwards, who was fighting his own battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), seemed to rekindle the magic that he had in winning the 1982 U.S. Open. Watson’s performance tailed off over the final three rounds, but his tie for 28th (284) left an indelible imprint on this championship.

Meanwhile, Furyk entered the final round with a three-stroke cushion over Leaney and Vijay Singh, who shot an Open-record-tying 63 in the second round. His second-nine 29 also tied an Open record for lowest nine-hole score. The big Fijian fell off on Sunday with a 78 as did three-time major winner Nick Price, who shot a 75 after rounds of 71-65-69 the first three days.

Scoring at Olympia Fields was lower than expected as the field returned 83 sub-70 rounds, the most in any U.S. Open. Only on Sunday, when the greens and fairways firmed up to the standards most expect in this event, did the course reveal its true character with just six sub-par rounds being posted.

Ten amateurs qualified for the championship, the most since 1984, but just two made the cut: reigning U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes and 1994 U.S. Amateur runner-up Trip Kuehne, who took home low-amateur honors.