Woods Has No Trouble at Dural
By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
DORAL, Fla. – Tiger Woods is hitting his stride on a march to the Masters.
Woods had full control of his game Sunday and never let anyone get closer than three shots until he had locked up his 17th World Golf Championship title. With a conservative bogey that didn’t matter on the final hole, he closed with a 1-under 71 to win the Cadillac Championship.
For the first time in five years, Woods has two wins before the Masters.
It was one year ago at Doral that Woods withdrew after 11 holes in the final round because of tightness in his left Achilles tendon, creating uncertainty about his health and whether he could ever get his game back.
Woods has won five times in the last year, the most of anyone in the world, and he can return to No. 1 with a win at Bay Hill in two weeks.
He won by two shots over Steve Stricker, who might want to claim a share of this trophy.
Stricker spent 45 minutes on the putting green with Woods on the eve of the tournament, helping him with his posture over putts. Woods made 27 birdies this week, one short of his personal best on the PGA Tour.
“Thank you to Steve for the putting lesson,” Woods said at the trophy presentation. “It was one of those weeks where I felt pretty good about how I was playing, made a few putts and got it rolling.”
Stricker, playing a part-time schedule, picked up his second runner-up finish in just three starts. He closed with a 68, and had no regrets about offering Woods some help.
“At times you kick yourself,” Stricker said with a laugh. “He’s a good friend. We talk a lot about putting. It’s good to see him playing well.”
The Masters is a month away, and Woods is sure to be the favorite.
Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, showed signs of recovering from his rough start to the season. He had a 65 and tied for eighth.
Woods won in January at Torrey Pines by four shots. He won for the fourth time at Doral, making this the seventh golf course where he has won at least four times.
Graeme McDowell, who started the final round four shots behind, made a birdie on the opening hole, but never got any closer. McDowell had third place to himself until he went for the green on the 18th hole and found the water. He made double bogey, shot 72 and fell into a four-way tie for third that cost him $172,500.
Phil Mickelson (71), Sergio Garcia (69) and Adam Scott (64) also tied for third.
Woods improved to 40-2 on the PGA Tour when he had the outright lead going into the final round, the last two wins with McDowell at his side. Woods last won while ahead at Bay Hill a year ago.
Woods finished minus 19 at 269 and earned $1.5 million in winning this World Golf Championship for the seventh time.
Scott had the low round of the tournament with eight birdies in his round of 64.
That’s what McDowell, Mickelson and Stricker would have needed to have any chance of catching Woods. As he did early in third round, McDowell gave it his best shot, only to have Woods answer on every occasion.
Woods now has won more than $24 million in the WGCs alone since the series began in 1999, winning 43 percent of the tournaments. This was his 76th career win on tour, leaving him six short of the record 82 wins by Sam Snead.
Kevin Kisner wins Chile Classic
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Kevin Kisner closed with a 4-under 68 Sunday to win the Chile Classic and earn his second career title on the Web.com Tour.
Kisner, one of three 54-hole co-leaders, played the final five holes at the Prince of Wales Country Club 1-over par, but his 21-under 267 was enough to edge Brice Garnett (68) and Edward Loar (69) by one for the victory.
Guy Boros (65) and hometown favorite Benjamin Alvarado (71) tied for fourth at 18 under.
Five others were at 17 under.
Kisner figured he might be in the mix despite playing poorly in Panama and Colombia.
“I don’t know why I won because I played so bad the last two weeks and missed the cut,” he said. “It wasn’t terrible, but my game wasn’t there and I wasn’t confident.
“This course just fit my eye really well. I knew when I played my first nine holes in the practice round that I’d have a chance here.”