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Article updated: 9/14/2013 7:49 PM

Furyk stays steady, keeps lead at BMW

Jim Furyk tees off on the ninth hole during the third round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest on Friday. He followed up his 59 on Friday with a 69 Saturday, good for a 1-shot lead.

Jim Furyk tees off on the ninth hole during the third round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest on Friday. He followed up his 59 on Friday with a 69 Saturday, good for a 1-shot lead.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Jim Furyk knew it wasn't going to be easy.

After all, how in the world do you follow up a round of 59?

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He knew early on he had his work cut out for him. As early as Friday night, in fact. Just minutes after his record-tying round had ended, Furyk admitted he already was thinking ahead to Saturday's third round.

"I'm going to enjoy this one a little bit tonight and I'll have a big fat smile on my face when I go to bed," he said of his amazing day. "But I've got a golf tournament to try to go win. I want to play a good, solid round Saturday and get myself in contention for Sunday."

Talk about a man executing a plan.

Furyk, the co-leader with Brandt Snedeker beginning the third round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, wasn't the flashy, pin-seeking, putting machine he was a day earlier.

Rather, he reverted to his old-school grinder ways while playing in front of a horde of appreciative fans, and it paid off with a round of 69, good for a 1 stroke lead over hard-charging Steve Stricker.

"It kind of felt like a victory lap," Furyk said of the day after. "People kept cheering for me all the way around. It was a good day, a lot of positive fans, the occasional one that likes to give me a hard time, but 99.9 percent were very positive.

"But even if you go out and fire a 62 or a 63, it's always difficult to follow that up with a low number, and it probably took me a few holes to really get in the flow out there and feel good.

"I made a couple mental errors on the front nine with shots and hitting shots in the front places, short-sided myself a couple times but felt like I played a very, very good nine holes of golf on the way in and was happy how I played on the back nine."

Outside of Matt Kuchar's amazing morning round of 61, no one was hotter Saturday than Stricker, who continued his torrid play down the stretch with a round that featured 6 birdies, a bogey and an eagle from the fairway on No. 15 for a round of 64.

"All in all, a good day," said Stricker, who has six top-10 finishes in 11 events this year and is fourth in FedEx points. "I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I made some nice putts, drove the ball nicely, and then holing out on 15 always helps things out."

It should come as absolutely no surprise that it's Furyk and Stricker paired together and set to battle it out Sunday.

Why, you ask?

Consider this: Furyk and Stricker hold the record for most top-10 finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs with 11.

Snedeker, the reigning FedEx Cup champion and co-leader entering the day, struggled from the get-go Saturday, finishing up with an even-par 71 that has him 2 strokes off the lead.

"Today was a struggle," he admitted. " I really hit it really poorly pretty much all day. I had a good stretch of holes, six or eight holes where I hit it pretty good.

"But from where I drove the ball today it's a miracle I shot what I shot, so I'm excited about that and get out of here with a chance tomorrow."

Zach Johnson is a stroke behind Snedeker, while Tiger Woods is 2 back thanks to a round of 65, highlighted by 6 birdies over a seven-hole span.

"I had a nice little run to at least get myself in there where I have a chance tomorrow," said Woods, who, a day after receiving a 2-stroke penalty, was paired with his occasional nemesis Sergio Garcia in what turned out to be the biggest nonstory of the tournament.

So far the biggest story of the weekend by far is the 59 turned in by Furyk on Friday.

And if he can follow it up with his first victory since the 2010 Tour Championship after a series of excruciatingly close calls the last 18 months, well, that would be big, but it still would be the second-biggest story.

But even Furyk admits getting a win Sunday in Lake Forest remains a big if.

"It's been three years," he said. "No one has to remind me.

"I definitely put more pressure on myself and that will be part of the mental game tomorrow -- to go out there and stay in the moment and just play golf and not really worry about it.

"I'll play my best if I'm focused on the task at hand, not on the results."

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