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Positive Furyk eyes another chance at major glory

Jim Furyk of the U.S. hits from the 16th tee during the third round of the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in
Jim Furyk of the U.S. hits from the 16th tee during the third round of the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) - Fourteen months after squandering a golden opportunity to win the U.S. Open, Jim Furyk will again bid to land a second major title when he starts Sunday's final round of the PGA Championship one shot ahead.

Though Furyk was inconsolable after a late collapse in last year's U.S. Open at the brutally difficult Olympic Club, he has come to terms with that bitter disappointment and now prefers to build on the positives of the experience.

"I've made peace with that," the 43-year-old told reporters after carding a two-under-par 68 in Saturday's third round at Oak Hill Country Club.

"Hopefully what I do is I draw from that experience. I'm a more mature player now and hopefully I draw some positives from it. I'm a better person and better player for it.

"You're going to get beat up in this game a little bit. You have to forget about it, but I think you have to also look in first and figure out what you could have done better, what could have I have done?"

Furyk had led last year's U.S. Open since the second round, outplaying Tiger Woods by five shots on the third day after they went head to head, only to throw it all away when he bogeyed three of his last six holes.

He closed with a four-over-par 74 to finish in a five-way tie for fourth, two shots behind winner Webb Simpson.

SELF-IMPOSED PRESSURE

Since winning his first major at the 2003 U.S. Open, Furyk has recorded six top-10s in golf's elite championships but does not believe he has suffered unduly because of self-imposed pressure as he bids to land a second title.

"I don't know if it makes it any more difficult," he said. "You know, winning any tournament is difficult. Winning any major championship is a difficult feat.

"I guess if I'm putting heightened expectations on myself ... that would mean I would be approaching the situation in an improper manner, and I may have done that in the past.

"I'm trying not to let that happen in the future, or in the present right now. I'm relaxed, I'm going to enjoy tomorrow just like I had fun today."

Furyk certainly had a good time on Saturday, rebounding from two bogeys in the first three holes to end an enthralling day of cut-and-thrust at nine-under 201, with a one-stroke lead over fellow American Jason Dufner.

He broke clear of a congested leaderboard when he sank a 18-footer to birdie the treacherous par-four 17th and scrambled well to save par at the last, holing a curling 15-foot putt from the fringe.

"Overall, I'm comfortable with where I'm at," said Furyk, who has not won on the PGA Tour since 2010 when he triumphed three times.

"There's a crowded leaderboard at the top and instead of viewing it as who is leading and who is not, I'm viewing it as I need to go out there tomorrow and put together a good, solid round of golf, fire a good number and hope it stacks up well."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden)

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