On a Sunday that turned out to be a massive disappointment for Jim Furyk, another veteran ended a drought of his own. Tim Clark mounted an amazing comeback in Montreal to earn his second career victory at the 2014 RBC Canadian Open.
The 38-year-old from South Africa started the final round three shots behind Furyk, who had been all but bulletproof through the first 54 holes. Neither man was able to make a run on the front nine, as they both made an early bogey, only to make the turn at level par. It was there, however, that the tides began to turn.
Every putt that Furyk made over the first three days, now was going in for Clark. First a pair of birdies on the 11th and 12th made things interesting. Furyk missed what looked like a purely struck birdie attempt on the 14th, allowing Clark to overtake him on the 15th. The entire day could be encapsulated on the 18th green, when Furyk had a medium-range putt to force a playoff that never really threatened to fall, while Clark’s knee-knocking six-footer found nothing but the bottom of the cup.
It was an amazing day all-around for Clark, who had struggled to gain any traction on the PGA Tour this year. Even over the last three months, he’s been sort of an all-or-nothing pick, having missed five cuts since May, but also putting up four top-25s, including a tie for fifth two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic.
As is so often the case in golf, Clark finally broke through with one of his finest weeks on the greens of the year. Ranked just 100th in greens in regulation and 96th in strokes gained putting for 2014, he consistently improved as the week went on, finishing the tournament fourth and second, respectively, in those same categories.
Furyk has now failed to convert his last seven third-round leads into victories, noting that sometimes he got in his own way, and others he simply got beaten. While this was mostly somewhere in between, Clark deserves a world of credit for staying aggressive when he knew he had a chance to win, and closing down the stretch.