Given another chance to close out a win, Jim Furyk wasn't about to blow it. Not even with Tiger Woods closing in.
Determined not to come up short as he'd done three times already this year, including a devastating loss last weekend, Furyk answered Woods's charge with three straight birdies and hung on to win the Western Open yesterday in Lemont, Ill.
It was his 10th career victory on the PGA Tour, but first since the 2003 Buick Open.
"You take the combination of last week, surgery and not winning since surgery, you put all that together and it was an emotional win," said Furyk, who missed half of last season after having wrist surgery.
"It was a lot of fun."
After tapping in at 18, Furyk turned and pumped his fists to the cheering crowd. He then shared a long hug with caddie Fluff Cowan.
"I'm trying to say that I'm healthy, I'm fit and I feel like my game is as good as it's ever been," Furyk said.
He shot a 2-under-par 69, finishing the tournament at 14-under 270. Woods (66) was two strokes back at 272, though he did become the first player in tour history to go over the $50 million mark for career earnings.
"I'm really disappointed, but not overly disappointed," Woods said. "You would not have suspected that I would have been tied for the lead on the first day. So from that standpoint, I'm proud of the way I hung in there and grinded it out and got back in contention. Also frustrated because I made three bogeys today. Take those three bogeys away, I'm right there.
"That's just the way it goes."
Even with Furyk's injury, this was unusually long between victories. He'd won at least one tournament a year from 1997 to 2003, and won his first major championship at the 2003 U.S. Open at nearby Olympia Fields.
It wasn't as if Furyk didn't have his chances. He's been runner-up three times this season, including that dismal finish last weekend. Furyk was three strokes ahead of Padraig Harrington at the Barclays Classic with five holes to go, but he made back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17.
* LPGA TOUR: Marisa Baena won the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship in Gladstone, N.J., after convincing herself that winning didn't really matter.
Relaxed and confident playing her favorite format, Baena completed a career-changing run from 60th seed to champion with a 1-up victory over South Korean rookie Meena Lee.
"The funny thing about it is that I always believed I could do it, but this year I said, 'You know what, I don't care if I win or not,' " Baena said. "This winter, I realized winning wasn't as important to me as I thought."
A year after seriously considering giving up tour play, the 28-year-old Colombian beat six higher-seeded opponents to win in her 152nd start on the LPGA Tour. She earned $500,000 and received a three-year tour exemption.
"I'm sure in Colombia people are going crazy right now," said Baena, the country's first LPGA Tour winner. "I can't imagine the party that's going on at my country club."
Baena closed out the 23-year-old Lee with a conceded par on the par-4 18th after rolling her birdie try within two feet of the cup.
In the morning semifinals, Baena rallied to beat eighth-seeded Candie Kung, 2 up. Baena opened the 64-player event against fifth-seeded Natalie Gulbis and also beat No. 37 Grace Park, No. 21 Jennifer Rosales and No. 29 Karrie Webb.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Ron Streck shot a 4-under 67 in East Meadow, N.Y., to win the Commerce Bank Championship by three strokes, making him the first player with a victory on the PGA Tour, the Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour.
The 50-year-old became the first wire-to-wire winner on the Champions Tour this year and his three-tour feat only adds to his golf fame. He was the first player to use a metal wood in competition on the PGA Tour in 1981.
Jim Ahern had the best closing round, a 6-under 65, and he caught Streck at 14 under on the 15th hole, but it wasn't enough as he finished at 13-under 200, three behind Streck after three trips around the 6,989-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: Kenneth Ferrie shot a 2-under 70 for a two-stroke victory at the European Open, taking advantage when leader Thomas Bjorn shot a 14-over 86 in Straffan, Ireland.
Ferrie shot his third straight round of 70 and finished at 3 under. Colin Montgomerie (69) and Graeme Storm (73) shared second.