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Playing like a kid guided Jim Furyk near top at Quail Hollow

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/04/20/48/SMhJ2.Em.138.jpeg|475
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Jim Furyk rejoices after making an eagle on the 15th hole Sunday. He finished 7-under 65 to go to 13 under for the tournament then had to endure a long wait as eventual winner J.B. Holmes climbed to the top of the leader board.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/04/20/48/d19Xw.Em.138.jpeg|213
    Todd Sumlin - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
    After a thrilling final round that included an eagle on No. 15, Jim Furyk surged up the leader board. He handed his golf ball to his caddy, Fluff, on the 18th hole, then waited for J.B. Holmes to finish his round.

Jim Furyk said heskipped last year’s Wells Fargo Championship because his head wasn’t in the right place.

This year, he had to stick around longer than he anticipated.

Furyk carded a 7-under 65 to go to 13 under for the tournament, but he finished more than 75 minutes before the final group. He was a J.B. Holmes three-putt on the par-4 18th away from going to a playoff at Quail Hollow Club, but Holmes only needed two.

Furyk, who finished in sole possession of second place, was realistic about his chances of winning his second Wells Fargo Championship when Holmes was on the back nine.

“Probably not,” Furyk said when asked if he thought 13 under would be enough to win. “He’s still got (Nos.) 14 and 15 that are good birdie opportunities. But if he doesn’t get through those, (Nos.) 16, 17 and 18 (are) tough. It’s a tough finish. It gives you a lot to think about.”

Furyk had much to think about a year ago when he skipped the Charlotte tournament. The 2003 U.S. Open champion said he wasn’t having fun playing golf. He began treating golf like his job rather than playing to have fun.

Furyk, 43, said he started going out and playing the game like a kid again.

“I started playing this game as a kid because it was a blast,” Furyk said. “So I wanted to attack it that way and enjoy myself out here.”

The 2006 Wachovia champion at Quail Hollow, Furyk hasn’t won on PGA Tour since 2010, when he was the FedEx Cup champion. He finished second at the 2013 PGA Championship.

Sunday, he put early pressure on the leaders on the back nine. He made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th, holed an 11-footer for birdie on the par-4 14th and eagled the par-5 15th with a 62-foot chip from the rough.

He had some newly found confidence after struggling to find it following practice at the range late Saturday afternoon.

Furyk had been missing shots to the left during his range session. Shivers ran down his spine because he’d rather be 20 yards right than 5 yards left. His tee shot off No. 1 Sunday didn’t help any, going 30 yards to the left in the native area.

The birdies began falling at No. 5, and along the way Furyk found something in his posture that gave him confidence. By the time he made it to Quail Hollow’s Green Mile (holes 16, 17 and 18), he had confidence in his swing.

Furyk played a bogey-free round, going par-par-par on the closing holes.

He admitted it was difficult to wait in the locker room for more than an hour after his round, but after seeing Holmes birdie No. 15 and make a clutch par save on No. 17, he knew it was time to pack up.

Furyk was asked how enjoyable was his final-round 65 .

“A lot of fun,” he said.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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