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Deutsche Bank Notebook

Furyk was a satisfied customer

A year later, he made right call

Jerry Kelly, who began the day three shots off the lead, enters the final round only one back after a 3-under-par 68. Jerry Kelly, who began the day three shots off the lead, enters the final round only one back after a 3-under-par 68. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
By Michael Whitmer
Globe Staff / September 5, 2011

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NORTON - There was no urgent cry for help this time, no desperate scavenger hunt brought on by bad shots or missed putts. Jim Furyk still thought about popping into the South Easton shop that sold him a used putter last year, which he then used to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.

“I might have to stop by and just make an appearance. Good karma,’’ Furyk said, minutes after shooting a third-round 66 at TPC Boston, his best score of the week, to reach 9 under, two shots behind leader Bubba Watson and tied for seventh.

It was after last year’s third round that Furyk, by himself and unannounced, quietly walked into Joe & Leigh’s Discount Golf Pro Shop, searching for a new putter because the long model he had wasn’t behaving. He found a used one, paid $39 for it, and had it in his hands the next day for the final round, when he shot 70.

He kept it in his bag for the final two playoff events, then at the Ryder Cup. By starting 69-69-66, Furyk hasn’t felt compelled this week to make a late-night, last-minute equipment change. He did place a phone call last night to Joe & Leigh’s, though.

“Very cordial, just like last time,’’ said Mark Petrucci, a golf professional at Joe & Leigh’s who sold Furyk the putter last year and happened to answer the phone last night. “He asked how everything was going in the shop, asked how we were doing, and wanted to say thanks and that he’s thinking of us.’’

It was Furyk’s way to pay his respects to the place that played a small role in helping him win $11.35 million on a rainy day in Atlanta: $10 million for capturing the FedEx Cup, $1.35 million for the Tour Championship.

“I’ve been out here practicing or actually working out pretty much late every night, so I haven’t gotten a chance to go over,’’ Furyk said. “But I’d like to say hello.’’

Trying times Ernie Els shot an even-par 71 and fell from a tie for sixth to a tie for 19th, so he’ll have to sweat out another day if he wants to extend his playoff season. The projected FedEx Cup standings after three rounds showed Els - who began the week 99th - at No. 70, which would get him into the third event on the number.

Graeme McDowell also will be doing plenty of scoreboard-watching. He’s tied for 39th after three rounds and projected to finish 73d in points. If he can improve roughly 10 spots on the leaderboard and finish in the top 30, according to PGA Tour estimates, he’d advance to the BMW Championship.

“I’ll want a general feel for what I need to do, but I’ll treat it like any other Sunday afternoon, although this will be Monday afternoon,’’ said McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion who began the week 84th. “If I’m right on the bubble with three or four holes to go it might be a case of taking a risk I might not normally take. I’m at 4 under par. I reckon if I can get to 6, maybe 7, then I’m pretty much locked in. That’s my target, 3 under minimum tomorrow.’’

Pushing it Charley Hoffman came from four shots back at the start of the final round to capture last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship, shooting a 62 to win going away. Hoffman starts today six back, so even another 62 probably won’t let him repeat. But a 65 yesterday at least pushed him to a respectable spot on the leaderboard, tied for 30th.

Hoffman made nine birdies - two fewer than he had in last year’s 62 - but had a double bogey on the fifth hole and a bogey on No. 11. He chipped in for birdie on No. 14, and holed four birdie putts longer than 10 feet.

“I didn’t hit the ball any better, I just made a few putts,’’ Hoffman said. “The next thing you know, I’m shooting 66.’’

There’s never been a back-to-back winner in tournament history.

Close call No aces on No. 16 yesterday, but there were five birdies. Geoff Ogilvy knocked it the closest, putting his tee shot 19 inches away . . . Scores at the top might not have reflected this, but the third round played statistically easier (69.71) than the first (70.32) or second (70.05) rounds. There were 17 eagles yesterday, including two by Brendan Steele (Nos. 2, 18) . . . Six players had bogey-free third rounds: Phil Mickelson (63), Robert Karlsson (64), Camilo Villegas (65), Gary Woodland (66), Marc Leishman (66), and Davis Love (69) . . . Hunter Mahan will be at Boston Common tomorrow participating in a chipping contest with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and assorted television personalities. The Sun Life Financial Drive to End Alzheimer’s is open to the public, runs from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and will feature three mini-golf courses, target challenges, interactive video games, and a putting station staffed by PGA professional Tim Kilcoyne. Mahan and Menino will square off in a chipping challenge at 1:15 p.m., joined by NECN’s Chris Collins, NESN’s Randy Scott, Dan Roche of Ch. 4, Bob Halloran of Ch. 5, and Rhett Lewis of Ch. 7 . . . Nick McLaughlin led Team New England to a 63-17 victory over Team USA at the John D. Mineck DBC Junior Cup, held at Boston Golf Club in Hingham.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com.