Woods retains World Match Play title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/T/Tigerwoods.jpg' class='caption'> Tiger Woods became the first player to retain the World Golf Championship's World Match Play Championship at the La Costa Resort in California.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Tiger Woods became the first player to retain the World Golf Championship's World Match Play Championship following a 3 and 2 victory over Davis Love III in the 36-hole final at the La Costa Resort in California. Woods, who began the second round of the day one behind fellow American Love, squared the match on the second green and won three holes in a row at the seventh, eighth and ninth to take a firm grip on the Walter Hagen trophy and Love's resistance finally broke on the 16th green. The opening 18 holes of WGC World Match Play Championship final were dominated by Davis Love but a wayward putter allowed Tiger Woods to come back twice from two holes down to go into the afternoon round just one hole behind. Woods had hardly hit a fairway off the tee all morning, but made his intentions plain at the first hole second time around with a solid drive. Love had missed a series of short putts on the back nine earlier in the day and his poor form on the greens followed him onto the second - the 20th hole of the match, where another tentative offering allowed Woods to square the match. Then, at the seventh hole, with Woods again finding the trees, the world number one produced a glorious recovery to set up an unlikely birdie chance. The subsequent putt rolled sweetly into the cup, Love could only manage a par-four and Woods, after so many missed fairways over 25 holes, had taken the lead for the first time in the match. Whether it was pressure, fatigue, frustration or a combination of all three, Love apeared to visibly wilt and there was an awful inevitability about what was to happen next. Wood's third shot to the par-five eighth set up a second successive birdie and a two-hole lead which became three despite a valiant attempt from Love to save the ninth hole from a greenside bunker. When things are going against you, it seems there is little you can do. The next six holes were halved, leaving Woods dormie at three up with three to play. All the reigning champion had to do was match Love down the 16th hole and when this putt dropped to halve the hole, Woods had retained his title and become the first player to win this event twice. A gallant Love accepted defeat and pondered on what might have been, had his putter not deserted him. Woods said afterwards that it was his own putting that gave him the edge. (AP)

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