Sport Golf

Sunday 23 April 2017

McDowell turns on style to stun Woods

Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell played in the same group during yesterday's final round of the Chevron World Championship, a title which the Portrush ace won in a play-off. Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell played in the same group during yesterday's final round of the Chevron World Championship, a title which the Portrush ace won in a play-off. Photo: Getty Images

IT proved to be a day of firsts all round as Graeme McDowell came from four shots behind to stun a shell-shocked Tiger Woods and win the Chevron World Challenge.

Entering the last round at the Thousand Oaks GC, California, McDowell looked to have an impossible task as he trailed Woods by four shots, but he dragged himself level and sank a monster putt on the 18th to take it to a play-off -- and then won it with a stunning 25-footer on the first extra hole.

Woods had never lost a tournament in which he entered the final round with a lead of three shots or more, so the result had looked a foregone conclusion, but he struggled from the opening hole, which he bogeyed. He recovered to birdie the second, but there was more woe on the par-three third, which he also bogeyed.

McDowell gradually made inroads. Matching Woods' birdie on the second, there were two more on successive holes as he followed up his three on the par-four fourth with a four on the par-five fifth.

As a result, the US Open winner made the turn just a shot behind and then dramatically went in front on the 13th. Woods' third shot to the par-five landed in the deep rough left of the green, and he eventually walked away with a double-bogey.

McDowell reached the green in two and two-putted for a birdie to go two shots clear with five holes to play.

But the drama was only beginning. McDowell had his lead halved when he bogeyed the 14th, and the pair were back on level terms going up the last after Europe's Ryder Cup star pulled his tee-shot on the 17th and was relieved to escape with a bogey.

Both golfers played brilliant tee-shots and Woods was first to play into the green. The game looked up for the Ulsterman when his rival pitched to three feet and he was a further 15 feet away. But McDowell displayed great nerve to sink his putt and Woods duly followed him in with his short birdie putt to force the play-off - which the Portrush native won so brilliantly.

With Woods and McDowell finishing on 16-under, it was four shots backs to Paul Casey, one place ahead of Rory McIlroy, who bounced back from a disappointing third round with a closing 68.

Irish Independent

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