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Woods outlasts Daly in titanic struggle

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2005

 

  Tiger Woods, left, and John Daly shake hands after Woods beat Daly in a sudden death playoff during the final round of the American Express World Golf Championships at Harding Park in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005. Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, is on the far right. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Tiger Woods, left, and John Daly shake hands after Woods beat Daly in a sudden death playoff during the final round of the American Express World Golf Championships at Harding Park in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005. Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, is on the far right.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

SAN FRANCISCO — Tiger Woods and John Daly made the PGA Tour feel like a rock concert Sunday, the delirium reaching such decibels that Woods felt his ear drums pounding as golf's two biggest sluggers headed for a sudden-death playoff at Harding Park.

It was a titanic struggle that ended with a whimper.

Despite their 350-yard tee shots that soared majestically against the blue sky over Lake Merced, the American Express Championship came down to a putt that would have been a gimme on most municipal golf courses.

Daly, who seconds earlier had a 15-foot birdie putt to win, missed a 3-footer for par on the second extra hole to hand Woods his 10th title in the World Golf Championships.

''That's not how you're supposed to win a golf tournament,'' Woods said. ''We're in a playoff, we're battling, and J.D. played beautifully all week. It shouldn't end like that.''

It was a somber conclusion to an otherwise spectacular tournament at San Francisco's municipal gem.

Woods, he of the massive fist pumps and megawatt smile, bowed his head and drew his hand over his right eye as if he had just lost the tournament.

Daly walked off the 16th green and handed his putter, which betrayed him over the closing holes, to Frank Lopez, one of thousands of faces in the gallery who hated to see this end.

''I really thought I was going to make the (birdie) putt,'' Daly said. ''You know, what do you do? I know Tiger didn't want to win that way, and I certainly didn't want to lose that way.''

Woods made up a two-shot deficit over the final three holes to force a playoff and closed with a 3-under 67. He won the American Express Championship for the fourth time in six starts, and is now 10-for-19 in the World Golf Championships that count toward official money.

It was his sixth victory of the year, and the third time golf's best closer had to rally in the final round. Considering he had a swing he couldn't trust, and a lingering rib injury that required treatment all week, this might have been as impressive as any.

''I didn't really have my best stuff this week, but I still hung in there with my mind and putted beautifully, and hit shots when I really had to,'' Woods said.

Daly closed with a 69, three-putting from 30 feet on the 17th to crack open the door for Woods.

He had two chances to win the tournament — a 16-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation that he left short, then the birdie putt on No. 16 — the second playoff hole — that he three-putted for bogey.

Longs Drugs Challenge

AUBURN, Calif. — Chile's Nicole Perrot earned her first LPGA Tour victory, rallying from a two-shot deficit.

The 21-year-old Perrot, the 2001 U.S. Girls champion, offset three bogeys on the front nine at The Ridge Golf Course with three birdies on the back in an even-par 71. She finished at 14-under 270, one shot ahead of South Korea's Hee-Won Han (69).

Greater Hickory Classic

CONOVER, N.C. — Jay Haas rallied with a 7-under 65 for his first Champions Tour victory.

The 51-year-old Haas, who splits time between the PGA Tour and the 50-and-over tour, finished with a tournament-record 16-under 200 at Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course.

He beat the previous mark of 14 under, set last year by Doug Tewell.

The victory ended Haas' 12-year, 302-event winless streak in Tour-sanctioned tournaments.

Abama Open de Canarias

TENERIFE, Canary Islands — John Bickerton won the Abama Open de Canarias, shooting a 3-under 68 to beat Stuart Little and Michael Kirk by five strokes.

Bickerton finished with a 10-under 274 total at the 6,857-yard Abama Golf Club course. He has finished second five times on the European Tour since 1993 and had been in danger of losing his European Tour card.



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