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Woods holds on to defend Ford title

1557 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  deadphoenix
great read :)

MIAMI (AP) -- Tiger Woods played his best golf when he finally got some competition Sunday at Doral, then played his worst when it no longer mattered.
Despite a bogey-bogey finish on the Blue Monster, Woods closed with a 3-under 69 for a one-shot victory over David Toms and Colombian rookie Camilo Villegas in the Ford Championship at Doral, his second victory of the year and the 13th time he has successfully defended a title.
Woods finished at 20-under 268 and never lost his lead on a breezy afternoon, and after Toms closed to within one shot with two straight birdies on the back nine, Woods found another gear. He holed a 12-foot birdie on the 11th, then became the only player to reach the 603-yard 12th in two shots for a birdie to restore his lead to three shots.
Toms made it easier for him at the end.
Woods, who hit a wedge over the 17th green to make his first bogey of the final round, was in the right rough on the daunting 18th hole, leading by one shot. He watched Toms run a 60-foot birdie putt some 10 feet past the hole, then miss the par putt for his first three-putt of the week.
Woods only needed a bogey, and it showed. He hit his approach well right into a bunker, blasted out to 12 feet and two-putted for a bogey.
``Anywhere inside the bleachers and I'm fine ... just as long as I can make bogey,'' Woods said. ``A 'W' is a 'W.'''
Woods' 48th career victory enhanced his reputation as golf's best closer. He now is 34-3 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and he has never lost in 20 tries when his lead going into the final round was two shots or more.
He became the first repeat winner at Doral since Raymond Floyd won in 1980 and 1981.
Toms and Villegas each shot 67.
Villegas, a 24-year-old darling of this large Latino crowd in south Florida, made two birdies over his final five holes and secured his PGA Tour card for next year. He also tied for second at the FBR Open at Phoenix, and now has earned more than $700,000 in the first two months.
He got within two shots of Woods early in the round, but couldn't sustain it.
"We are talking here about the best player in the world," Villegas said. "I played well. I had fun."
Toms quickly applied pressure with an 8-foot birdie on the par-5 10th, then a shot from the fairway bunker on the 11th to 15 feet for another birdie. And even after Woods extended his lead to three, Toms plugged away with a birdie on the 16th to keep in range.
But the 18th hole has been a problem all week for Toms, and he had 4-iron from the rough that left him no chance of taking on the flag. Toms had not paid attention to a leaderboard all day, knowing he still had an outside shot by the energy in the crowd.
An NBC analyst told him the score, and Toms suddenly felt the heat.
"I wasn't even nervous all day because I'm trying to catch the guy," Toms said. "All of a sudden, I've got a putt all the way across the green, big break, and I'm nervous because I'm just trying to two-putt. That's my mistake. But if I had been looking at it all day, then maybe I would have felt that way all the way through the back nine."
Woods saw Toms' ball on the green as he walked up the fairway, and he had a 9-iron in his hand from the rough.
"I was hoping I could grab a lie so if I had to make 4, I could," he said.
He went well right of the water and trouble and into a bunker, slightly against the back lip. It wasn't an easy shot, but Woods hit safely to 12 feet and needed only two putts to win.
His last four victories had come in playoff -- the American Express Championship, Dunlop Phoenix, Buick Invitational and the Dubai Desert Classic.
Toms wasn't beating himself up for a bogey on the 18th, simply because it's one of the toughest closing holes on the PGA Tour. The average score was 4.5 on Sunday.
He was more frustrated by his 70 in the third round, which left him three shots behind Woods.
"When you play against Tiger, you can't slip up," Toms said. "You just have to play solid every day."
Even though Woods had a two-shot lead, he was in no position to play it safe with so many players poised to make a move and only a gentle breeze that took some teeth out of the Blue Monster.
Villegas made eagle on the first hole to get within one, and birdies on the sixth and seventh holes brought him to within two shots. But the young Colombian went seven straight holes without a birdie and fell too far behind.
With no one making a serious run, Woods kept it simple.
He added a birdie at No. 5 with a big drive and a sand wedge that spun back to 4 feet, and he hit wedge out of the rough on the sixth to 6 feet to reach 20-under.
Then Toms showed up, and Woods found another gear.
Woods now has won four of his six last tournaments worldwide. Doral will host a World Golf Championship next year, although that might make Woods even more tough. He already has won 10 of those.
Phil Mickelson hit into the water on the eighth and ninth holes and wound up with a 73 to tie for 12th. ... Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, recently took possession of a Ford GT that came with Woods' victory last year. This time, he opted for the copper Mustang. Asked if his wife had any say over who got the car, Woods said, "No, she has others." ... Jeff Sluman matched the best round of the day at 66 and moved up 27 spots into a tie for seventh. ... Among those in the gallery Sunday was seven-time LPGA winner Michelle McGann, who was watching Rich Beem. They both work with Dr. Michael Larden.
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Thanks for that.. A great pick up and read to catch up on Woods. I'm amazed every time I hear about him.. Honestly the way some people can dominate such competitive skills is inhuman.
GolfLine said:
Thanks for that.. A great pick up and read to catch up on Woods. I'm amazed every time I hear about him.. Honestly the way some people can dominate such competitive skills is inhuman.
I agree with this sentiment. Tiger is a once in a sport type player. No one will ever be as good as he is. He could get up and win any event any day he wanted to. And by large margins.

How many events do you guys think he will win this year?
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