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Furyk seeks redemption at Barclays

PARAMUS, N.J. -- For a player so accomplished, so respected, so, well ... immensely compensated, Jim Furyk sure has suffered his share of proverbial bumps and bruises.

Battered, he keeps on coming back.

Here is Furyk, with another chance to win a golf tournament -- again.

He has put himself in position to win the Barclays, shooting 2-under-par 69 on Saturday during the third round at Ridgewood Country Club, tying Jason Day atop the leaderboard.

But in Furyk's career, a 54-hole advantage has not meant much. Just a few weeks ago, he led the Canadian Open by 3 strokes, shot 1-under-par 69 in the final round -- and still lost. It was the seventh straight time he held a third-round lead and failed to convert.

"It's the reason I still want to play and compete," Furyk said. "When you're not in contention, the idea is, 'OK, let's find something this weekend while we're out here. Let's catch a spark and carry it into next week and find something and try to get some momentum.'

"It's the reason I still enjoy playing and competing."

So the old question persists: Is it better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all?

Or, in the case of a golfer: Are you viewed differently if you give yourself chances and don't win as opposed to hardly ever giving yourself a chance?

Furyk, 44, has 16 PGA Tour victories, including one major championship at the 2003 U.S. Open. (He also has earned more than $60.5 million on the PGA Tour, putting him behind only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh on the all-time list.) Should Furyk have won more? Or, has he gotten the most out of that funky swing and his relative distance disadvantage off the tee?

Since 2011, no player on the PGA Tour has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead more than Furyk -- who failed to win any of them. He has also been in the top five on 13 occasions during that period without a win. His last victory came at the 2010 Tour Championship, where he also won the FedEx Cup and capped a player-of-the-year season with his third win.

"It's part of my golf game and what's going on, and I'll use those situations to learn from and to get better from," Furyk said. "I don't really block anything out. It's done. It's over. I thought about those situations and how I could handle them better. Just put it behind me and try to use it to my advantage in the future."

A cynic would suggest that Furyk has had plenty of learning experience from which to build. There was the wayward drive on the 16th hole of the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open when he was tied for the lead; or the double-bogey later that year on the final hole at Firestone that cost him the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

And perhaps most crushing of all, the bogey-bogey finish at Medinah in 2012 to lose to Sergio Garcia 1-up at the Ryder Cup. The match was crucial, in that even a tie would have put the United States in a position to win. Instead, the Americans suffered a 14½-13½ defeat.

Not even that could keep Furyk down. He made the U.S. Ryder Cup team this year, meaning a ninth consecutive appearance dating to 1997. Only once -- in 2012 -- was he a captain's pick, and along with Phil Mickelson, Furyk will be counted on to lead an underdog U.S. team next month at Gleneagles.

But first things first. Furyk has a chance for redemption on a few levels Sunday. Remember 2010, the year he won the FedEx Cup? He was not allowed to compete in the Barclays here at Ridgewood because an alarm failed and he was late for his pro-am time. A harsh penalty, but one that he is good-naturedly reminded about quite often.

And then there is this run of close calls, eight top-10 finishes this year and all those 54-hole leads without a win.

The problem is, there are 20 players within 5 shots of the lead Furyk and Day share.

"I don't need any motivation," Furyk said. "Sitting tied for the lead in a big golf tournament on a golf course that I really enjoy playing and have a lot of respect for. I think it's a great golf course. No extra motivation needed. I'm just happy to be in a good spot and looking forward to tomorrow."