Tim Clark stuns Jim Furyk to claim Canadian Open victory

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Tim Clark produced a phenomenal display of putting on the back nine of Royal Montreal to overhaul overnight leader Jim Furyk's three-shot lead and claim the RBC Canadian Open title. 

Clark victory

The South African trailed his American counterpart by three with just nine holes to go, but eight one-putts in a row - including five birdies - saw Clark come home in just 30 strokes to win his second-career title on the PGA Tour. 

Matt Kuchar matched winner Clark's score of 65 to finish tied fourth alongside compatriot Michael Putnam (66), while European duo Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (66) and Graeme McDowell (68) both finished strongly to earn a top-10 spot.

Home duo Graeme Delaet (68) and Brad Fritsch (64) were the only Canadians to finish inside the top 50, with tied-seventh and tied-ninth finishes respectively delighting the home crowd, who turned out in good numbers throughout the week in the southern city. 

Concern for Furyk?

And they were certainly treated to a dramatic finish thanks to efforts of Clark, but it is yet another 54-hole lead squandered for Furyk - his seventh consecutive failure - and will be a concern for Tom Watson's when his US Ryder Cup team - which Furyk is guaranteed to be on -  head to Gleneagles in two months' time. 

With nine holes of regulation play to go, the 2003 U.S. Open champion was relatively comfortable atop of the leaderboard with no player mustering any sort of charge at the man who led by three. Clark, however, had other ideas. 

At 11 and again at 12, Clark rolled in two birdie putts to pull within one of Furyk and when another followed at 14, the American's lead had evaporated and, given his four-year winless run that had seen him give up several chances to claim victory, it seemed like there would only be one winner from there on in. 

Both players' putters were recording vastly different temperatures, so it was no surprise to see another one of Clark's birdie attempts find the bottom of the cup at 15 to take the solo lead with three to play. Furyk simply had no answer with his flatstick. 

If the previous six single putts were not impressive enough in their own right, the 38-year-old Scottsdale resident's par save from 12 foot at 16 was superb and the birdie that followed at 17 after Furyk had put his tee shot to four feet was as good as it gets when chasing a first win since the 2010 Players title at Sawgrass. 

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In his fairness to Furyk - who had a front-row seat of his lead being dissolved and overturned by the putting of Clark - he duly converted his putt to pull himself back within one, giving him an outside chance of forcing a first playoff at Canada's annual Open since Sean O'Hair triumphed at Shaughnessey in Vancouver three years ago. 

If that opened the door slightly ajar, it was blown wide open at the 72nd hole thanks to Furyk's sublime iron shot into the green that pitched and spun back, leaving the Pennsylvanian a chance of a birdie three, which would have been good enough to force extra holes provided Clark's 25-foot putt did not find the hole. 

Which it certainly didn't. Having gone 135 consecutive holes without a three putt, the South African uncharacteristically left his first putt seven-foot short. That meant Furyk, whose Dad Mike has coached for the entirety of his profession career, had a putt for a playoff. 

Unfortunately, but perhaps more unsurprisingly given he had converted just two putts over six feet in his closing 20 holes, his putt had too much gas and rolled agonisingly past the edge. 

That left Clark with seven feet between him and much-needed victory on the American circuit. He needed no second invitation to wrap up his second PGA Tour title, rolling in his par putt to complete a sensational comeback and leave Furyk visibly dismayed at yet another failure that will only add to Europeans' confidence at Gleneagles. 

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