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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Tiger wins 5th straight tourney

NORTON, Mass. -- What began as a rally quickly turned into a rout for Tiger Woods, who matched the lowest final round of his career Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship to win for the fifth straight time on the PGA Tour.\nWith a splendid array of shots and key putts, Woods crushed Vijay Singh's spirit on his way to an 8-under 63, turning a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory for his longest winning streak in a season.\nThe streak began in July with a victory in the British Open, his first since his father died in May. It continued on a sunny afternoon outside Boston with some of his best golf of the year and allowed him to avenge a loss to Singh at this tournament two years ago.\nWoods needed only three holes to erase the deficit, including a 7-iron over a marsh and into 10 feet for eagle at No. 2. He pulled ahead with a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 5. He seized control with a 3-wood from 266 yards, a piercing shot into a gentle breeze that banged into the slope fronting the green and stopped 10 feet away for another eagle.\nHe played his first seven holes in 6 under par, and Singh never got closer than two shots the rest of the way.\nSingh beat him two years ago to end Woods' five-year reign atop the world ranking. The 43-year-old Fijian closed with a 68, not his best golf but ordinarily enough to win with a three-shot lead in swirling breezes.\nBut not against Woods, and certainly not when the world's No. 1 player is on this kind of a roll.\n"Tiger played unbelievable," Singh said. "He made two eagles and just took it away."\nByron Nelson won 11 straight tournaments in 1945, a streak regarded as one of the most untouchable in sports history. Woods won six straight at the end of 1999 and the start of 2000, and Ben Hogan won six in a row in 1948.\nWoods now takes a week off before heading to England for the HSBC World Match Play Championship, followed by the Ryder Cup. His next PGA Tour start will be the American Express Championship outside London at the end of September.\nHe still isn't even halfway home to Nelson's hallowed mark, but he surpassed Lord Byron in one category with his 53rd victory, moving into fifth place alone on the career list. Woods, who finished at 16-under 268, won for the seventh time this year. No other player has won more than twice.\nBrian Bateman closed with a 66 to finish third at 8-under 276, eight shots behind Woods.\nIt was a two-man race between Woods and Singh, the duel everyone wanted. The gallery cramm ed as many as five-deep behind the ropes from tee to green, with fans racing across bridges to get to the next hole.\nNo one expected such a sudden role reversal, however. Singh was coming off a career-best 61, although he struggled to find fairways and greens until he found himself having to chase Woods.\n"Vijay played one of the great rounds of golf yesterday," Woods said. "I figured one of the hardest things to do is follow a great round with another one."\nThis time, it was Woods who fired at the flags and never took his foot off the gas until he settled for par on the last hole for a 63.\nWoods twice shot 63 in the final round at the Byron Nelson Championship and once at Disney, but this was his lowest final round in a tournament that he won.\nIt also was his largest comeback in the final round since he overcame a five-shot deficit at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2000, which he won for his sixth straight victory. Woods made up seven shots over his final seven holes.\nThis rally came early, and it was spectacular.\nAfter missing a 6-foot birdie putt on the opening hole, Woods hammered his driver over the bunkers, leaving him a 7-iron into the green on the par-5 second hole and making the eagle. He covered the flag with his next shot on the par-3 third, making a 15-foot birdie putt to tie Singh for the lead. And when he rolled in a 25-footer on the fifth, Woods was in the lead.\nJustin Rose started the day tied with Woods, and imagine his disgust when he saw the leaderboard.\n"I was 4 over through five holes, he was 4 under through five," Rose said. "Obviously, it was 'Game Over' for me."\nSingh didn't go away that easily.\nThe crowd was still buzzing over Woods' second shot into the par-5 seventh when Singh hit a shot every bit as impressive, from 87 yards in a bunker, the ball landing behind the flag and spinning back to two feet for a tap-in birdie. There was a chance Singh could escape without losing a shot, until Woods curled in his eagle putt from 10 feet.\nWoods turned toward his caddie and lightly pumped his fist, although Steve Williams was far from animated. It was a big putt, giving Woods a two-shot margin, making it that much more difficult for Singh to recover.\nAnother key putt came on the ninth, a 15-footer for par that Woods knocked in to build his lead to three.\n"I hung in there, but I made too many mistakes," Singh said.

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