Tiger back on top

Woods out-duels Mickelson to reclaim No. 1

Posted: Monday, March 07, 2005


  Tiger Woods pumps is fist on the 17th green during the final round at Ford Championship at Doral Sunday, March 6, 2005, in Doral. AP Photo/Steve Mitchell

Tiger Woods pumps is fist on the 17th green during the final round at Ford Championship at Doral Sunday, March 6, 2005, in Doral.

AP Photo/Steve Mitchell

MIAMI — Tiger Woods turned in a performance worthy of his return to No. 1.

In a dramatic duel with Phil Mickelson that came down to the last shot Sunday, Woods made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to take the lead, then a 6-foot par putt to close with a 6-under 66 and win the Ford Championship at Doral, giving him the No. 1 ranking for the first time since September.

Mickelson, coming off dominant victories in his last two stroke-play tournaments, had a chance to force a playoff or possibly win on the 18th. His 30-foot chip looked good all the way, but caught the lower lip. He closed with a 69.

This Sunday showdown exceeded the expectations of a battle between two of the biggest names in golf. A sellout crowd was buzzing from start-to-finish, especially during wild momentum changes on the back nine of the Blue Monster.

Woods reached the 603-yard 12th hole for the second time in two days for an eagle to take a two-shot lead. Mickelson answered with back-to-back birdies to catch him.

Lefty looked like he had control of the tournament until he missed a 5-foot par putt on the 16th, and then Woods delivered like he usually does with two clutch putts.

Woods, who earned $990,000 for his second victory of the year, finished at 24-under 264 to break by one shot the tournament record at Doral, previously held by Jim Furyk (2000) and Greg Norman (1993).

Vijay Singh, who had been No. 1 the last 26 weeks after beating Woods in a Labor Day duel outside Boston, closed with a 66 to finish third, five shots behind, along with Zach Johnson (67).

MasterCard Classic

HUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico — Annika Sorenstam rallied to win her first LPGA Tour event of the year, shooting a 4-under 68 in windy conditions for a three-stroke victory in the inaugural MasterCard Classic.

Sorenstam had eight birdies — five in a row on Nos. 2-6 — to offset four bogeys in the strong wind on the high-altitude Bosque Real Country Club course.

The Swedish star, also playing for the first time since filing for divorce from David Esch, won her 57th LPGA Tour title, finishing at 7-under 209. Last year, she won eight tour events and two international titles.

Karrie Webb, the ANZ Ladies Masters winner last week in Australia, had a 70 to finish second. Second-round leader Cristie Kerr shot a 75 to match South Korea's Hee-Won Han (71) at 3 under, and Mexican star Lorena Ochoa (68) rallied to finish fifth at 2 under. Rookie Paula Creamer (68) and Michelle Redman (72) were 1 under.

Dubai Desert Classic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Ernie Els made an 18-foot eagle putt on the final hole to beat Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Wales' Stephen Dodd by a stroke in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Els, the South African star who also won the tournament in 1994 and 2002, shot a 4-under 68 for a 19-under 269 total. Dodd closed with a 66, and Jimenez shot a 70. Scotland's Colin Montgomerie (69) was fourth at 16 under.

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