By Mark Lamport-Stokes
ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) - Jim Furyk has endured his share of agonizing close calls at the majors but said he would reflect on a week of positives after finishing second to Jason Dufner at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
The PGA Tour veteran had led by one shot going into the final round at Oak Hill Country Club but was outplayed by his fellow American Dufner, who carded a two-under-par 68 to claim his first major title by two strokes.
"I was going to have fun. I have no regrets. I played my heart out," Furyk told reporters after dueling with Dufner for the lead over the first nine holes before being effectively shut out after the turn.
"I played a very, very solid tournament. If I could go back, I would love to make par on 17 and 18 and put some heat on him and I wasn't able to do that."
Dufner, whose approach play was in top order, held a two-shot lead after he and Furyk had birdied the par-four 16th and they both went bogey-bogey over the notoriously difficult finish at Oak Hill's East Course.
"That's the one thing, it's a little bit of a thorn in my side, but he played well," said Furyk, who had been seeking to add a second major title to his 2003 U.S. Open victory.
"He hit it to a foot on five. He hit it to a foot on 16, and he hit it a foot somewhere else today, on eight."
At last year's U.S. Open, Furyk squandered a golden opportunity to win a second major title when he bogeyed three of his last six holes to wind up in a five-way tie for fourth, two shots behind winner Webb Simpson.
"I don't mean any disrespect to Webb, he played great," Furyk reflected. "He played better than anyone down the stretch. But at the end of that tournament, I felt like I lost the tournament.
"Today, I feel like I got beat. I didn't beat myself, I don't think. I felt like I got beat by Jason."
Since winning his first major, Furyk has recorded seven top-10s in golf's elite championships and is now placing much more emphasis on trying to enjoy the whole process of jockeying his way into contention.
"My attitude is a little down now," said the 43-year-old, a 16-times winner on the PGA Tour. "If I continued down the same road with the attitude I had 10 years ago, it wasn't as much fun as it needed to be.
"I just didn't want to be that way anymore, so I've kind of made a commitment this year to start trying to enjoy myself and have a little better time on the golf course."
Furyk has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since his golden 2010 campaign when he piled up three wins but he has been encouraged by his improved form over the past three weeks after missing the cut at both the U.S. Open and British Open.
"I feel good about my chances in the future," he said. "I'm disappointed it's been a while since I've won, and I've had some chances to close the door and haven't done it, but I guess it's days like this that will make the next one sweeter."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden)