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It took some doing but 25-year-old Englishman Chris Wood finally broke through for his long awaited first European Tour victory in grand style, holing a 12-foot putt for eagle on the 72nd green to claim the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.  Needing a birdie to tie Sergio Garcia and South African George Coetzee, the 6’5” Wood instead hit a massive drive at the par-5 closer, then a 6 iron to 12 feet, and promptly drained the putt to steal the title.  Wood, who initially came to fame upon finishing 5th in the 2008 Open Championship as an amateur, had twice before lost 54-hole leads on the E Tour and after beginning the final round with a three-shot lead, a double bogey at the par-3 3rd raised the specter of a repeat performance.  He righted the ship mid-round however, before delivering the decisive blow when it mattered most.  The win was Wood’s second as a pro (he also claimed the Asian Tour’s Thailand Golf Championship in 2012) and, in the eyes of many, a possible jumpstart to bigger and better things.  Notably, in an experiment aimed at drawing more spectators, the event was played Wednesday-Saturday to coincide with the Middle Eastern Friday-Saturday weekend – though the galleries still appeared to be expatriate-dominated regardless..........A week after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, Tiger Woods got his 2013 domestic campaign off to a good start by claiming his eighth career win at Torrey Pines, a four-shot triumph at the Farmer’s Insurance Open.  Woods stood head and shoulders above the field through 66 holes, building an eight-stroke lead before stumbling home with two bogeys and a double bogey to card a closing 72 – more than enough to secure his 75th PGA Tour victory.  Woods’ dominance of Torrey Pines has now included seven Farmer’s Insurance titles as well as the 2008 U.S. Open; with one more Farmer’s win, he will match Sam Snead’s single-event record, Snead having won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times.  The inevitable chorus of “He’s Back!” once again arises and to be sure Woods spent much of the week far out in front of the field.  But Torrey Pines is also a place that largely forgives errant drives, the wheels once again came off down the stretch and Woods was only a week removed from hitting a ground ball (and missing the cut) in Abu Dhabi.  As ever, it should make for fascinating viewing going forward.

Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 06:35PM by Registered CommenterDaniel | Comments Off