Jim Furyk sure made this Champions Tour stuff look easy.
While others made runs on Sunday during the final round of the Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Furyk simply stood his ground, posting a smooth-as-silk 68 to win in Champions debut. It was his first win on any tour in five years.
He becomes the 19th player to win a Champions event on his first try, following in the footsteps of others like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lanny Wadkins.
“I didn’t know 19 people won in their first time, it sounds so ordinary,” Furyk said through a smile after the victory. “It feels good, you know, I really missed a lot of good friends out here. I respect the talent out here and you look at how many Hall of Famers and how many good players there are, so it’s an honor to come out win the first one.”
Retief Goosen and Brett Quigley both were in the hunt with Furyk, but each made a critical mistake down the stretch — Goosen bogeyed No. 18, while Quigley lipped out a short putt on No. 17 and bogeyed each of the final two holes.
For Furyk, this meant another great finish at Warwick Hills, where he made all 15 cuts when the course hosted the PGA Tour’s Buick Open. He captured the Buick title in 2003, finished second twice and placed in the top 25 in all but three of his appearances at the course.
“I love this golf course so much, it’s one of the reasons I made this my first one. I had some choices to play — I’m going to the PGA next week then to Wyndham in a couple weeks — and I feel like this was a great place to open it up,” Furyk said. “I’ve had so much success here. I missed the fans … I missed the rowdiness at 17.”
Chris DiMarco, Rod Pampling and Wes Short Jr. all finished tied for third at 10 under while Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman and Jerry Kelly were fourth at 9 under.
In terms of others who have also won their debut, Palmer won in his first attempt, the 1980 Senior PGA Championship, while Nicklaus won in his debut at the 1990 Regions Tradition.