Weekly Tour Wrap-up #28th Jan
Last week saw two exciting yet contrasting events, with the two winners coming from the opposite ends of the golfing spectrum.
In the Middle East, a young Englishman made a sensational eagle on the 72nd hole to win his first European Tour title.
In America, a golfing legend eased to victory and set a new PGA Tour record by winning for the eighth time on the same golf course.
Wondrous Wood reigns supreme in Qatar
Bristol’s Chris Wood eagled the last to post an 18-under-par 72-hole total and win the Qatar Masters by one shot from Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee at the Doha Golf Club.
It was the Englishman’s first European Tour title at the 116th time of asking. He has now become the 87th English player to win a European Tour event.
Wood made a solid start, opening with a five-under-par 67, but he trailed Portugal’s Ricardo Santos – hot on the heels of a top five last week – by two shots.
Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka and Journeyman Anthony Wall sat in second place after round one, alongside Scotland’s Peter Whiteford, who was disqualified whilst leading the Avantha Masters last season.
The minnows fell away in round two, though, allowing some of golf’s biggest stars to come to the fore.
Garcia and Martin Kaymer made their way to the top of the leaderboard with respective rounds of 66 and 67, joining Santos and Marcus Fraser – who lost a play-off to Danny Willet at the 2012 BMW International Open – on nine-under-par.
They led a large group, including Thorbjorn Olesen, Coetzee and a resurgent Michael Campbell, by one shot heading into Friday (the tournament started on Wednesday).
Third rounds are often referred to as ‘moving days’, and that label proved spot on in the Qatari desert.
Starting the round two behind the leaders, Wood shot out of the blocks, returning five birdies and no bogeys on his front nine.
He would add an eagle at the next to go seven under thru 10, with one bogey and two more birdies coming home resulting in a third-round 64.
His 15-under-par 54-hole total was good enough for a three shot lead over Campbell and Simon Khan, who moved serenely through the field with a matching bogey-free 64.
They were joined on 12 under by Sweden’s Alex Noren, with Garcia and Branden Grace one shot further behind.
On Saturday, Wood made a double bogey at the third hole to fall out of the lead, but battled back to level par for the day by the turn.
He had company in the shape of Coetzee, though, who played his first 10 holes in five under to reach 15-under-par.
The South African – who is yet to win on the European Tour - parred his next five holes, but bravely birdied 16 and 18 to set the clubhouse target on 17-under-par.
When he finished, Wood was one back on 16 under, with Garcia two off the lead with just two holes remaining.
The Spaniard wasn’t perturbed, though, and hit a glorious approach to the par-3 17th to set up birdie, his fourth on the back nine.
He missed the fairway with his drive on the par-5 18th, but a sublime third from 97 yards left him four feet to secure his place in a seemingly inevitable play-off.
He duly knocked it in, but behind, Wood had blasted a 380-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway.
Facing a 200-yard second, the 25-year-old dispatched a five iron straight at the pin, leaving a 12-footer for glory.
To his eternal credit he put a positive stroke on the ball, and punched the air with vigor after watching it tumble into the hole for his second professional victory.
Wood has now moved into the world’s top 60 and earned invitations to the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions and 2014 Volvo Golf Champions.
Woods cool, calm and collected in California
Tiger Woods shot a closing 72 to record a 14-under-par 72-hole total and win the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots from Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater at Torrey Pines.
The world number two has won at least five tournaments in every season that he’s claimed victory at Torrey Pines.
He got off to a good start on Thursday, shooting a four-under-par 68 round the tough South Course.
Everyone in the field played one round on the comparatively easy North Course, with defending champion Brandt Snedeker shooting 65 on the shorter track to share the lead after round one.
He sat alongside Korean KJ Choi, who matched his seven-under-par score despite playing his round on the demanding South.
On Friday, it was Woods’ turn to play the easier course, and Woods’ turn to make a charge.
Starting on the back nine, he played holes 17-2 in five-under-par en route to a second-round 65 and an 11-under-par 36-hole total.
He led by two shots from compatriot Billy Horschel and by three from a large group on eight-under-par, which included former US Amateur Champion Casey Wittenberg.
No play was possible on Saturday due to fog, but Woods showed no sign of rust during the third round as he returned six birdies and two bogeys to open up a four-shot lead over rookie Brad Fritsch.
The fourth round started soon after, and by the time darkness forced a suspension of play, Woods had extended his lead to six shots.
Play resumed on Monday, and after 13 holes he was eight shots clear on 18-under-par, but some wayward driving coming home resulted in three dropped shots in two holes from the 14th.
Another bogey followed at 17, but his nearest competitors – Snedeker and Josh Teater – were four shot adrift, and Woods was able to avoid a Kyle Stanley-esque collapse and make par to win by four shots.
Next week, Stanley defends at the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open, with the European Tour heading to Dubai for the Dubai Desert Classic, the final leg of the desert swing.
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