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Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk celebrated his first Father's Day as a parent by capturing the 2003 U.S Open Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club outside Chicago, winning by three strokes over Stephen Leaney and by seven over Kenny Perry and Mike Weir. They were the only four players to finish under par.

Entering the final round with a three-shot lead, Furyk closed with a 2-over-par 72 for an 8-under total of 272, tying the U.S. Open scoring record shared by Jack Nicklaus (1980), Lee Janzen (1993) and Tiger Woods (2000). Except for bogeys on the final two holes, Furyk would have had the record to himself. Leaney also shot 72 on the final day.

"It's a proud day," said Furyk. "It's beyond some dreams. My name will be on that trophy with some unbelievable names in golf and you can't take that away from me."

The championship opened with drama and emotion as 53-year-old Tom Watson fired a 5-under-par 65 to share the first-round lead with Brett Quigley. Watson and long time caddie Bruce Edwards, fighting his own personal battle with ALS, seemed to rediscover the magic that marked Watson's victory in the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

"I had tears in my eyes after sinking the final putt," Watson noted, following his round. "You can only imagine at this stage of my career how important this is, and how rare this opportunity is." Although Watson's play fell off in the following rounds, as he finished tied for 28th at four-over-par 284, his opening round remained for many the highlight of the championship.

Furyk opened with rounds of 67-66-67 and entered the final round leading by three strokes over Australia's Leaney and by five over Nick Price and Vijay Singh. Throughout the day, none of the challengers mounted a serious assault on Furyk's lead. Singh and Price faltered with rounds of 78 and 75, respectively. Perry, who closed with a round of 67, vaulted from 33rd to 3rd on the leader board, but, he never threatened the leaders and finished at one-under-par 279. Weir also finished earlier in the day with a 71.

Paired with Furyk in the final round, Leaney failed to capitalize on the few errors that Furyk made. After Furyk posted bogeys at the 10th and 12th, Leaney knocked in an eight-foot putt for birdie at the 13th to pull within three strokes of the lead, but that would be the closest he would come to catching Furyk.

"He just kept me at arm's length all day," said Leaney.

Scoring at Olympia Fields was lower than expected, with the field returning rounds in the 60s, the most in any U.S. Open Championship. Furyk (67-67-133) Singh (70-63-133) established a new 36-hole scoring record, while Furyk (67-66-67-200), set a new 54-hole mark. In the second round, Singh fired (34-29-63, tying nine-hole and eighteen-hole records for the championship. Only on Sunday when the fairways and greens became firm and fast, did the course reveal its true character, yielding just six sub-par rounds.

Sixty-eight players made the cut at Olympia Fields, which came at 3-over-par 143, lowest in U.S. Open history. Ten amateurs qualified for the championship, the most since 1984, but only two made the cut, with low-amateur honors captured by Trip Kuehne.


Starts - 14

Best Finish - Winner 2003

Rds - 54

Cuts Made - 13

Top 3 - 3

Top 5 - 5/p>

Top 10 - 5

Top 25 - 7

Avg. 72.44

Scores in 60s - 9

Rds Under Par - 9

Earnings - $2,595,297.27

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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.