Furyk fights blown-lead streak with psychologist

London: Jim Furyk, whose streak of blown 54-hole leads to lose golf tournaments reached seven just two weeks ago, is fighting back at the PGA Championship with the help of a sports psychologist.

Furyk, who squandered a lead going into the final round of last year`s PGA Championship, put himself in contention for the Wanamaker Trophy again Thursday with a five-under par 66 to share second at Valhalla in the year`s last Major.

The 44-year-old American led Jason Dufner by a shot entering the last round at Oak Hill but fired a 71 and watched playing partner Dufner win by two strokes.

"That one is long, long, long gone, so it has been out of my mind for a long time," Furyk said.

"This is a much bigger, longer, more modern golf course. Totally different style of play and setup. In my mind, doesn`t have a feel of any similarities from last year.

"But it`s nice to be in a major championship and throwing up a good number early in the week. Got myself in a good position now, but there`s a lot of golf to be played."

Furyk, ranked eighth in the world, has not won a title since the 2010 Tour Championship despite leading seven times after three rounds since then.

He was a runner-up this year at the Players Championship and Quail Hollow and was second just two weeks ago at the Canadian Open, which became the most recent of his 54-hole failures with the lead, squandering a three-shot edge over the final 18 holes.

That effort, however, came after a month-long rest for Furyk between the US and British Opens, part of a plan to take more time off this year after talks with his wife, father and sports psychologist Bob Rotella.

"I think it probably took talking to Dr. Rotella a little bit, maybe someone from the outside, to let them in for me to listen, if that makes any sense.

"It`s sometimes hardest to listen to the people that love you the most."After going almost 20 years without consulting a sports psychologist, Furyk took the plunge and became a better time manager to put his priorities in order.

"The first conversation or two with Bob was more about life that it was about golf," Furyk said. "As I got more comfortable with him and wasn`t putting very well last summer, we started talking about putting.

"I liked what we talked about and then we started talking about other parts of getting the ball around the hole, about coming so close a few times, the PGA being one of them last year, and being disappointed."

Furyk`s 54-hole-lead losing streak includes the 2012 Transitions, US Open, World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational and McGladrey Classic, 2012 BMW Championship and PGA Championship and last month`s Canadian Open.

But consider Furyk`s mental game a work in progress rather than ground under repair, with Rotella a key player.

"He`s an easy person to talk to and I have a hard time opening up to people and strangers," Furyk said. "So we`re still kind of building and growing in a relationship.

"Definitely his thoughts and ideas have left me at ease on the golf course a little bit more and in life and have helped me be more patient this year, just to identify times when things were going awry, realizing that a lot of times so is my mental attitude, and I was able to turn those things around a lot quicker."

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