Tiger puts a major cap on Wachovia

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/w/woods_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Tiger Woods added the Wachovia Championship to his growing collection of trophies on Sunday with a 60-foot eagle putt to take the lead.

Updated: May 08, 2007 07:23 IST
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Tiger Woods added the Wachovia Championship to his growing collection of trophies on Sunday with a 60-foot eagle putt to take the lead, a double bogey that kept it interesting, and by avoiding the kind of calamity that doomed his challengers down the stretch.

Backed by a two-shot lead on the toughest hole on the course, Woods played it safe and made par from 8 feet to close with a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Steve Stricker.

It was Woods' third victory this year, and his ninth on the US tour in his last 12 starts dating to his missed cut in the US Open. He finished at 13-under 275, the lowest score to win the tournament, and earned $1.134 million for the 57th victory of his career. He also went atop the FedEx Cup standings for the first time this season.

"Over the course of my career, I've won a few tournaments here and there, and it's been nice," Woods said. "This one, considering the field and the golf course and the conditions, ecstatic to have won here."

Stricker had his best chance to win for the first time since 2001, one shot behind with three holes to play. He hit into the trees and the sand on the 16th on his way to double bogey, recovered with a 30-foot birdie on the 17th, then lost all hope when he went for the flag on the 18th and hit into the creek. He shot 69.

Rory Sabbatini, who said he wanted Woods in the final pairing, didn't make a par until the 10th hole and closed with a 74 to tie for third with Phil Mickelson, who closed with a 70 but was never a factor.

The Wachovia Championship is only 5 years old but already regarded one of the best stops on the PGA Tour with its world-class course and strong field - only the Masters and two World Golf Championships had more top players. Of the five winners in its short history, four of them are major champions.

Woods narrowly went into the water off the tee at the par-5 No 7, then watched a 60-foot putt roll down the ridge and into the cup for eagle and his lead.

He never trailed again. He followed that with two birdies to close out the front nine in 31.

Then, he hung on for the victory. Woods blew a three-shot lead with six holes to play when he took double bogey with a three-putt on the 13th, and Stricker made a 5-foot birdie on the 15th ahead of him.

"I thought if I could could even par, I could have a chance," Stricker said.

Vijay Singh, who briefly held the lead with a short birdie on the seventh, couldn't make up ground and finished with a bogey on the 16th and a triple bogey on the 18th when he twice hit into the water. He shot 74 and fell five places to a tie for seventh.

Sabbatini had a one-shot lead to start the final round, but was four behind at the turn.

"He got the job done today and I didn't. I don't have any regrets about that," Sabbatini said about his comment. "I want him every week now."

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