AKRON, Ohio Tiger Woods rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt that broke sharply into the right side, then escaped with par from the trees on the 18th hole for a 1-over 71 and a one-shot victory over Chris DiMarco on Sunday in the NEC Invitational.
Woods made it seven consecutive years with at least one World Golf Championship title since the series began in 1999, and he has won nine of the 18 events he has played. He has four victories in six years at Firestone,
Woods missed five putts inside 8 feet and trailed Kenny Perry by two shots when they made the turn. Even the birdie putt that finally gave him the lead required an approach from 189 yards over the water. It wasn’t over until he pitched through the trees and onto the 18th green for a two-putt par from 20 feet.
He finished at 6-under 274 and earned $1.3 million for his fifth victory of the year, one more than Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson. DiMarco, who lost to Woods in a playoff at the Masters, shot a 68.
Paul McGinely, one of four players who had at least a share of the lead, fell out of contention with a bogey on the 17th and shot 72 to tie for third with Singh (67) and Ryan Palmer (69). Perry (74) bogeyed five of six holes and wound up tied for sixth.
PORTLAND, Ore. South Korea’s Soo-Yun Kang won for the first time on the LPGA Tour, shooting a 3-under 69 for a four-stroke victory in the Safeway Classic.
Kang, who led by three strokes after the first two rounds, finished with a 15-under 201 total in brilliant sunny conditions at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.
Women’s British Open winner Jeong Jang shot a 70 to finish second, and Gloria Park was five strokes back after a 71.
RENO, Nev. Vaughn Taylor successfully defended his title in the Reno-Tahoe Open, shooting an even-par 72 to beat Jonathan Kaye by three strokes with a tournament-record 21-under total.
Taylor, in his second year on the PGA Tour, joined Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby as the only players to successfully defend a title this year and also became the fifth wire-to-wire winner of the season. Taylor opened with rounds of 64, 67 and 64 en route to a 267 total, four better than the previous tournament record set by Kirk Triplett in 2003. The winner also broke the tournament’s 36- and 54-hole marks.
Kaye shot a 67 his fourth round in the 60s but missed three birdie putts from within 15 feet on the last three holes to finish at 18 under on the Montreux Golf and Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
Todd Fischer, who lives next to the course, had a 70 to finish third at 17 under. J.J. Henry (66), J.P. Hayes (69) and Aaron Baddeley (70) followed at 15 under. Jesper Parnevik started the day seven strokes back, but shot a 74 to finish at 12 under.
Boeing Greater Seattle Classic
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. Former PGA Tour and USGA administrator David Eger won his second Champions Tour title, shooting a final-round 67 in the inaugural Boeing Greater Seattle Classic.
Eger finished at 17-under 199 on the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge, taking a $240,000 paycheck from the $1.6 million purse. He was three strokes ahead of runner-up Tom Kite, whose final-round 68 put him at 14 under.
Eger is a three-time Walker Cup member and two-time U.S. Amateur semifinalist. He won his only previous Champions Tour victory in another first-time event the 2003 MasterCard Classic in Mexico City.
John Harris and Brad Bryant tied at 13 under, while Morris Hatalsky was next at 12 under. Then came Craig Stadler at 11 under after his final-round 73, while Hale Irwin and Bruce Summerhays tied at 10 under.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. Rick Price won his first Nationwide Tour title, shooting a 1-over 71 for a one-stroke victory over Monday qualifier Andrew Pratt in the Xerox Classic.
The 37-year-old Price earned $99,000 to jump from 117th to 26th on the money list with $121,250. The top 20 at the end of the season will earn 2006 PGA Tour cards.
The former Methodist College player, tied for the lead with Todd Pinneo after three rounds, finished with an 11-under 269 total on the Donald Ross-designed Irondequoit Country Club course. Pratt also shot a 71.
David McKenzie (68), Jeff Quinney (70) and Scott Gardiner (71) finished two strokes back at 9 under, Ahmad Bateman (65) was 8 under, and Pinneo (75) was another stroke back along with Brent Schwarzrock (71), Kim Felton (71) and Eric Axley (73).
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