Jim Furyk lost in a playoff last year at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course. (Lyons/Getty Images)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Four days trying to solve the confounding Copperhead layout seemed the less demanding of two options bidding for Jim Furyk’s time this week.
He could have been back home, handling details for Monday’s event that benefits the charitable foundation that bears his name along with wife Tabitha.
“I really avoided all the work this week, being here,” Furyk quipped after Saturday’s 4-under 67 left him one shot behind co-leaders Kevin Streelman, Justin Leonard and George Coetzee at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by Everbank.
Of course, Furyk wouldn’t miss being at Innisbrook this week. The Copperhead Couse is one of his favorite courses on the PGA TOUR, and the layout seems to like him too – a victory three years ago and a playoff loss last year.
Now he’s potentially 18 holes from putting his hands on the trophy again.
“I made a couple of mistakes here and there, but I really feel like my game has gotten stronger every day,” said Furyk, who carded 72-69 in his first two rounds.
“I feel more confident with the putter in my hand. I’m seeing a couple more putts go in, and I think that’s giving me confidence as well. That’s why my scores are getting better.”
A bogey at the tough No. 16 slowed his momentum, but he flirted with eagle at No.18 with a splendid 7-iron that passed within a few inches of the cup before stopping three feet away. The ensuing birdie got him to 5-under for the week.
Furyk does have one fundraiser responsibility this week – arranging flights to transport a dozen or so TOUR pros to Ponte Vedra Beach after Sunday’s round. It isn’t all that simple, considering good friend Justin Leonard will play in the final group.
“I’m happy to see him playing well,” Furyk said. “He’s killing my [schedule] tomorrow, but other than that it’s good. I’m just going to have to back my late flight up.”