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Jim Furyk’s 58 is one for golf’s grinders

CROMWELL, Conn. — This one was for the grinders. This one was for everyone who keeps plugging away on the practice range, with the sole objective of getting better. This one was those who don't look like Jason Day or Dustin Johnson or any other artist's rendering of what a modern-era professional should be. This one was for the folks told they're too old or too short off the tee or too anything else.

This one was for any golfer– male or female, young or old, seasoned pro or unskilled amateur — who's watched Jim Furyk and thought to themselves: If that guy can be that good using that swing, then maybe there's hope for me, too.

He's 46 years old, gawky and gangly, and owns a backswing straight out of your Sunday morning foursome at the local muni. But with a 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship on Sunday — the first 58 in PGA Tour history — Furyk proved once again that the golf ball doesn't care about your age or what you look like or even how you take the club back.

In a day and age where golfers routinely pound drives more than 300 yards, Jim Furyk managed just 275.2 yards per strike off the tee during his record-setting 58 on Sunday at the Travelers Championship. Steven Ryan/Getty Images

If you lined up every PGA Tour player side by side, inspected their physical attributes and examined their swings, then chose from most impressive to least, he might be the last man standing, like the kid who never got picked in gym class.

That's not a knock on Furyk. Far from it. Instead, it's a testament to his abilities that he hasn't just persevered on the highest level, he's thrived.

It does, though, fly in the face of conventional wisdom. The player who holds the all-time single-round scoring record should seemingly be built like a linebacker. He should blast the ball over trees and cut off the corners of doglegs. He should be the poster boy for everything wrong with golf, the guy who makes great courses obsolete with his unyielding power.

Furyk is none of these things.

On Friday, he hit what he called his most important shot of the week — even after needing just 58 of 'em in the final round. It was a 7-footer for par on the ninth green, his final hole of that day.

He needed to make it in order to make the cut. And he did.

On Saturday, he posted a 2-over 72. He was so miffed with his swing that he sent video of it to his father, Mike, who also serves as his instructor. After receiving a few tips during a quick phone call, Furyk went back to work.

"Rather than just kind of mailing it in, I went to the range," he later explained. "I just didn't want to go shoot another 72 and hit it like I did [Saturday]. It would have been easy to do, but I wanted to practice and kind of get some momentum. I wanted to play a solid round [Sunday]."

On Sunday, he did what he normally does on the golf course.

He averaged 275.2 yards per drive. He hit 13 of 14 fairways. He reached all 18 greens in regulation.

Everything about it epitomized the way Furyk plays golf.

Jim Furyk's scorecard for his 58 at the Travelers Championship will surely be headed to the World Golf Hall of Fame as the lowest round ever recorded in a PGA Tour event. Michael Cohen/Getty Images

He wasn't comfortable with his swing, so he worked on it. He didn't like how he was hitting the ball, so he changed it.

"[Saturday], I felt like someone else leaped into my body and was making the swing," Furyk explained. "I wasn't hitting the ball solid. I think I hit 12 drivers yesterday, hit the ball in the fairway five times. That's my strength, so to turn that around and make it a weakness is the reason I shot a couple over par."

He then paused briefly and smiled at the next thought.

"In this game, you catch a little tip here, a little tip there, and you make a few good swings, and that momentum can switch pretty quickly. It doesn't ever feel like it, but when it happens, it's a lot of fun."

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You don't need to be Furyk to understand this concept. You don't need to shoot 58 or play on the PGA Tour or even be a half-decent golfer.

Anyone who has ever played the game understands the frustrations it can cause and the revelations that can come from within.

Furyk turned a balky swing into a 58 this weekend. Not because of pure talent or any sort of luck. He did it because he worked at his game, because he didn't want to "mail it in."

This one was for the grinders. This one was for anyone who keep plugging away on the range, who isn't built like Jason Day or Dustin Johnson, who is too old or too short off the tee or too anything else.

This one was for anyone who's ever watched Jim Furyk and seen a little bit of themselves.

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