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In a performance reminiscent of his halcyon days, Tiger Woods opened with rounds of 66-65-67, then closed with a safe 71 to cruise to victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, claiming his 17th career WGC title and his fourth victory at what is now called the TPC Blue Monster at Doral.  Racking up a career best 17 birdies over his first 36 holes, Woods was on the lead from the beginning, and stood four ahead of Graeme McDowell at the start of play on Sunday.  McDowell cut the deficit to three with a first-hole birdie but would never get any closer, and for much of the round was part of a logjam of players trailing Woods by five.  Birdies at the 13th and 17th drew McDowell close before a watery double-bogey at the 18th dropped him into a four-way tie for third with Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson – and cost him $172,500.  That left solo second place to be claimed by part-time player Steve Stricker, who might well have won had he not given Woods 45 minutes worth of help with his putting on Wednesday evening.  Scott, for his part, carded the week’s low round with a closing 64.  Also closing strong was world number one Rory McIlroy who, after continuing with the struggles that have plagued his early 2013 for the first 46 holes, recorded 10 birdies and an eagle thereafter, including a confidence-building Sunday 65, to tie for eighth.  For Woods, the victory was his second of 2013 and the 76th of his PGA Tour career, as well as being the 41s time in 43 opportunities that he has converted a 54-hole PGA Tour lead.  It also moves him closer to McIlroy in the Official World Ranking, placing him in position to reclaim the number one spot with a win in two weeks at Bay Hill – and event McIlroy will be skipping...............Three months removed from finishing 148th in 2012 PGA Tour earnings and thus holding only conditional status in 2013, Scott Brown used that status to play in – and win – the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, edging Argentina’s Fabian Gomez by one at the Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande.  Brown came to the 72nd hole trailing Gomez by one and anticipated needing an eagle to win.  Instead, he pitched his 30-yard approach to the par-5 18th to four feet and made the putt, then hoisted the trophy after Gomez bunkered his second shot, found a rear greenside bunker with his third and ultimately missed a 15-footer for par.  While Gomez failed in his attempt at becoming the first Argentine to win on the PGA Tour since Angel Cabrera at the 2009 Masters, Brown set a new tournament record with his 268 aggregate and, more importantly, earned a two-year PGA Tour exemption, canceling his plans to play a full Web.com schedule for the remainder of 2013.  Tying Gomez for second was 19-year-old former junior and collegiate star Jordan Spieth (in the field on a sponsor exemption), with both Spieth and former U.S. Amateur champion and current Challenge Tour player Peter Uihlein (T6) earnning spots in next week’s Tampa Bay Championship.  Also tying for 6th was Gomez’s countryman Andres Romero, who held the 36-hole lead with a pair of 65s before carding a disappointing 75 on Saturday................Twenty-five-year-old Indian star Anirban Lahiri dramatically defended his 2012 title at the SAIL SBI Open, holing a 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd green to force a playoff with countryman Rashid Khan, then eliminating Khan with a four-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.  For Lahiri, the victory is his third on the Asian Tour and his seventh overall on home soil (the event was co-sanctioned by the Professional Golf Tour of India) while the 22-year-old Khan, primarily a domestic player, missed out on a golden opportunity to secure Asian Tour playing privileges.  In a rare Saturday finish, Khan gamely closed with the day’s lowest round (a six-under-par 66) that included a clutch birdie at the last, but could then only stand idly by as Lahiri caught him with his final stroke.  Bangkadesh’s Siddikur, the 54-hole leader, struggled home in 73 to take third while homestanding Shiv Kapur, a recent winner on the European Challenge Tour, took solo fourth.

Posted on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 10:38AM by Registered CommenterDaniel | Comments Off