Tiger Woods gets win at Chevron World Challenge

December 5th, 2011 by Staff

www.sfgate.com – After going more than two years and 26 tournaments without a win, and after so much turmoil in his personal life and with his golf game, Tiger Woods stood over a 6-foot birdie putt Sunday to win the Chevron World Challenge and felt as though nothing had changed.

Finally, the outcome was familiar, too.

Woods poured in the putt to cap off a birdie-birdie finish at Sherwood in Thousand Oaks (Ventura County), finished with a 3-under-par 69 and beat former Masters champion Zach Johnson by one shot. The win ended a drought that lasted 749 days.

Trailing by one shot with two holes to play, Woods came up with two clutch putts. He holed a 15-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th to pull into a tie with Johnson, then hit a 9-iron from 158 yards that landed on the ridge behind the hole and rolled down to 6 feet.

“I’ve been in contention twice this year, which is not very often,” Woods said. “I pulled it off this time.”

It was his 83rd win worldwide in tournaments that award ranking points, but his first since he won the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009.

Now, however, it looks clear that Woods is on an upward path.

“If the man is healthy, that’s paramount,” Johnson said. “I mean, he’s the most experienced and the best player I’ve ever played with. In every situation, he knows how to execute and win.”

The win moved him from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world ranking, and probably will send expectations soaring for 2012.

He had a worthy adversary in Johnson, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round and trailed for only three holes. Johnson tied Woods with a birdie on the par-5 13th, made an unlikely par on the 14th by chipping from the bottom of the green, and appeared to seize control by holing a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.

Johnson thought his birdie putt on the 17th was good all the way until it burned the edge of the cup. Woods drained his birdie putt to force a tie and send the tournament to the 18th. Johnson missed a 15-foot birdie try, leaving the stage to Woods.

Johnson closed with a 71 and still took home $650,000 for the holidays.

Westwood survives scare: Lee Westwood finished with two bogeys and a 1-over 73, but it was still enough to retain his title by two strokes at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.

The third-ranked player ended with a 15-under 273 total to stay clear of Robert Karlsson in second, despite a final-round charge from the Swede that cut Westwood’s seven-shot overnight lead.

McIlroy prevails: Rory McIlroy rallied to win the Hong Kong Open, holing out from a greenside bunker on the final hole for a 5-under 65 and a two-stroke victory in an event co-sponsored by the European and Asian tours.

The 22-year-old U.S. Open winner from Northern Ireland, three strokes behind Alvaro Quiros entering the final round at Hong Kong Country Club, finished at 12-under 268 on the Fanling Course. He had five birdies in his bogey-free round.

Dawson has lead: Marco Dawson shot a 4-under 68 on PGA West’s TPC Stadium Course to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in La Quinta (Riverside County). The top 25 in the six-round event will earn PGA Tour cards.

Gulyanamitta qualifies: Thailand’s Junthima Gulyanamitta won the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, closing with 4-under 68 in rainy conditions on LPGA International’s Champions Course in Daytona Beach, Fla., for a two-stroke win over Christine Song.

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