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BETHESDA, Maryland: Congressional reopened its gates on Sunday to thousands of spectators who got what they expected in the AT&T National – another win by Tiger Woods.
Only this win didn’t follow a typical script.
Caught in a tense duel with Bo Van Pelt on another sweltering day, it looked as though Woods blinked first until Van Pelt matched him with mistakes of his own.
Woods closed with a 2-under 69 and won by two shots when Van Pelt finished with his third straight bogey and had to settle for a 71.
Woods won for the third time this year, the most of anyone on the PGA Tour, and it was the 74th win of his career.
That moved him past Jack Nicklaus into second place on the tour list, eight short of the record set by Sam Snead.
He effectively clinched the win with a 9-iron down the hill toward the peninsula green on the 18th, a shot so pure that Woods started walking and twirled the club moments after he made contact.
And so ended a wild week in Washington – record heat on Friday, followed by a wind storm that topped dozens of trees at Congressional and forced the tournament to keep spectators out on Saturday.
They were back in force for the final round, and they were treated to some pretty good theatre.
“What an incredible week,” said Woods.
“Everybody, thank you for being patient with us. Yesterday was a silent day. I think everyone saved up for today.
“What an atmosphere to play in front of.”
Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, didn’t make birdie and closed with a 77.
Adam Scott went out in 31 and was briefly tied for the lead until a few bogeys on the back nine. He had to settle for a 67, which put him alone in third at 5-under.
Billy Hurley, the Annapolis graduate who spent five years in the Navy, closed with a 72 and tied for fourth along with Robert Garrigus (70), Jhonattan Vegas (71) and Seung-yul Noh of South Korea, who had a 73.
Woods remains at No 4 in the world, though this win at least gives him a mathematical chance to get back to No 1 at the final two majors of the year.
There was a five-way tie for the lead at one point, though it took only nine holes to turn the final round into a two-man race.
Scott, who overslept on Thursday morning and made it to the tee with only minutes to spare, ran off four straight birdies late on the front nine to reach 6-under.
But after making three tough par saves on the back nine, he ran out of luck. Back-to-back bogeys took him out of the game.
De Jonge, a 54-hole leader for the first time, didn’t last very long atop the leaderboard.
He pulled his tee shot into the left rough on the third hole for his first bogey, and then made four bogeys in a five-hole stretch around the turn.
That made him nothing more than a spectator for the duel between Woods and Van Pelt, one player with more than 70 career wins and another whose only official PGA Tour win came in Milwaukee, a tournament that no longer exists. – Sapa-AP