Wachovia Championship

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Tournament:Wachovia Championship
Venue:Wachovia Championship
Winner: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods did not produce his “best stuff”, but such is his prodigious talent for winning, it did not stop him from beating the stellar field at the $6.4million
Wachovia Championship.
“The back nine I struggled a little bit,” he said after emerging as the last man standing to edge Steve Sticker by two strokes in tough, breezy conditions at Quail Hollow.
Woods took the lead late on the front nine, going four-under in a brilliant three-hole stretch, and had the luxury of playing the back nine in two-over.
He shot 69 to finish at 13-under-par 275, with Stricker (69) alone on 11-under after finding water with his second shot at the brutal par-four 18th for a closing bogey.
Phil Mickelson (70) tied for third with overnight leader Rory Sabbatini (74), two shots further back.
Woods, 31, collected US dollars 1,134,000 (£568,965) for his 57th PGA Tour victory, his third in six starts this year, and moved to the top of the money list and the FedEx Cup points table.
“This week I didn’t really have my best stuff, but it was good enough,” he said. “But I made a lot of putts this week, some crucial par putts from six to eight feet, which you have to make.”
Sticker and Woods finished first and second in putting, bringing to mind that old saying ‘you drive for show but putt for dough.”
Woods started the day a stroke from the lead, but went to the front with a somewhat lucky eagle at the par-five seventh.
His drive came within a foot of finding the lake right of the fairway, but he took advantage of his break to hit a seven-iron to the back of the green, before draining a 60-footer dead centre.
“It should have probably been (bogey) six on that hole, because I lost my tee shot to the right, and I don’t know how it didn’t go in the water,” he said.
“All of a sudden I had a perfect lie and I took a chance on that second shot to go for it. But I ended up on the top shelf (of the green). I was just trying to two-putt and it happened to go in.”
He added birdies at the next two holes to take command at the turn, and kept the lead despite a soft bogey at the par-five 10th and an even softer double bogey at the par-three 13th.
“The back nine I struggled a little bit,” Woods continued. “My goal coming in was to try to get the lead through 15. I figured if I parred in I’d probably win, because in these conditions you figure probably no-one is going to play those last three holes under par.”
Stricker, playing two groups ahead, birdied the par-five 15th to briefly tie for the lead, but promptly dropped two shots at the tough par-four 16th after his drive found trouble and he had to pitch his second shot back to the fairway.
Woods, who also birdied the 15th, only had to avoid disaster after that and a bogey at the par-three 17th mattered little.
“I knew after I birdied 15, if I could just play in at even par, I’d have a chance,” said Stricker. “It’s a little bittersweet. I’m happy I finished second, but I had an opportunity to win.”
Woods showed at last month’s Masters, where he started the final round a stroke from the lead before finishing tied second, that he is not necessarily invincible all the time.
His father died the week of this event last year, but he always planned to return after a one-year absence.
“Last year I wanted to play here but I just couldn’t,” he said.
Next up is this week’s Players’ Championship, an event he has won only once.
“I still need to do some work,” he said, never satisfied.
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 72):
275 Tiger Woods 70 68 68 69
277 Steve Stricker 72 70 66 69
279 Phil Mickelson 70 71 68 70, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 70 71 64 74
280 Anthony Kim 72 69 69 70, Stewart Cink 70 71 69 70
281 Vijay Singh (Fij) 67 71 69 74, Arron Oberholser 69 69 69 74, Ken Duke 70 70 68 73
283 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 70 73 71 69, Brett Quigley 70 74 69 70, John Senden (Aus) 72 70 69 72, Billy Mayfair 73 71 67 72
284 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 68 74 68 74, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 71 71 70 72
285 Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa) 70 72 71 72, Rodney Pampling (Aus) 71 70 71 73, J J Henry 72 73 69 71, Robert Garrigus 72 73 67 73, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 70 73 71 71, Briny Baird 72 73 70 70
286 Joey Sindelar 69 72 70 75, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 68 73 71 74
287 Nick Watney 72 71 74 70, Adam Scott (Aus) 73 69 73 72, Ted Purdy 70 69 74 74, J.P. Hayes 75 72 69 71, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 72 73 69 73, Kevin Sutherland 75 69 71 72, Heath Slocum 68 77 71 71, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 71 72 72 72, KJ Choi (Kor) 70 74 69 74, Mike Weir (Can) 73 71 70 73
288 Lucas Glover 75 72 68 73, Nick O’Hern (Aus) 75 69 69 75, Parker McLachlin 71 75 69 73, Nathan Green (Aus) 70 76 71 71, Stephen Marino 74 71 70 73, J.B. Holmes 69 74 71 74, Mathew Goggin (Aus) 70 73 72 73, Robert Allenby (Aus) 70 76 69 73, Ernie Els (Rsa) 71 74 73 70
289 Jerry Kelly 69 73 70 77, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 72 74 72 71, Davis Love III 74 72 67 76, Woody Austin 71 74 72 72, Ben Curtis 70 75 74 70, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 75 71 72, Boo Weekley 72 75 69 73, Camilo Villegas (Col) 69 76 72 72, Padraig Harrington (Irl) 66 75 79 69
290 Jeff Maggert 68 74 77 71, Ryuji Imada (Jpn) 70 73 75 72, Jason Bohn 67 72 73 78, Charles Howell III 78 69 74 69
291 Charlie Wi (Kor) 74 68 75 74, Dean Wilson 72 75 72 72, John Rollins 70 76 73 72, Cameron Beckman 75 72 72 72, Michael Putnam 72 70 76 73
292 Charles Warren 70 73 76 73, Jeff Gove 74 69 72 77, Bo Van Pelt 77 70 75 70, Lee Westwood (Eng) 72 74 74 72, Stephen Ames (Can) 69 73 74 76, Mark Wilson 76 70 71 75
293 Steve Flesch 70 74 71 78, Jeff Sluman 71 76 73 73
294 Billy Andrade 73 74 72 75, Brian Davis (Eng) 72 75 72 75, Robert Gamez 75 71 73 75, Chris DiMarco 74 71 73 76, Todd Demsey 72 75 72 75, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 72 74 72 76
295 Bob Tway 72 75 71 77, Ryan Moore 74 72 74 75
296 Gavin Coles (Aus) 76 71 72 77, Cliff Kresge 75 72 77 72
297 Stephen Leaney (Aus) 75 70 75 77, Craig Kanada 73 73 77 74, Tripp Isenhour 75 72 77 73
299 David Berganio Jnr. 69 76 71 83, Shigeki Maruyama (Jpn) 73 74 78 74
301 Zach Johnson 71 75 75 80