Date: August 03, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Woods secures hat-trick

Tiger Woods mopped up his 69th PGA Tour victory as he won the Buick Open for a third time in Michigan. The world No.1 turned a one-shot 54-hole lead into a three-stroke victory over Roland Thatcher and Australian duo John Senden and Greg Chalmers at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc to land his fourth title of the year and bounce back from a missed cut in The Open Championship at Turnberry last month. Woods, who moved to within four PGA Tour victories of Jack Nicklaus&aposs 73 and 13 of all-time wins leader Sam Snead, had trailed the first-round lead by eight shots only to charge back into contention with an eight-under 63 around the 7,127-yard par-72 course on Friday. A third-round 65 moved him to the top of the leaderboard at 17-under-par, one shot clear of fellow American Michael Letzig, with Senden at 15-under. Yet Woods needed just a relatively modest, bogey-free closing three-under par 69 to seal victory at 20-under par as a viable challenge to his lead never materialised. Both Letzig, his playing partner, and Senden, fell away on the front nine as Woods made the turn with a two-shot cushion over the field at 19-under, Letzig&aposs double bogey at the par-three eighth leaving him four shots back. The 14-time major winner&aposs nearest rival was American Thatcher, already in the clubhouse after an early 64 moved him to 17-under, while Senden and compatriot Chalmers closed on the same mark with a 70 and 68 respectively for a three-way tie for second place. Korea&aposs Y E Yang claimed fifth place at 15-under following a closing 67 while Letzig, whose double bogey at the last on Saturday had handed Woods the 54-hole lead, bogeyed the 18th for a 73 to fall into a tie for sixth with Ben Crane (69). On the Nationwide Tour, Aussie Gavin Coles finished in a tie for second at the Children&aposs Hospital Invitational four shots behind Derek Lamely, who emerged victorious after a play-off with Rickie Fowler. Won Joon Lee and Scott Gardiner both had solid closing rounds to finish in a tie for 11th. Meanwhile, on the Asian Tour, Darren Beck staged a stunning fightback as the Australian captured the Brunei Open 2009 by beating India&aposs Ganganjeet Bhullar at the third play-off hole. Beck had started the day tied 15th and six shots off the lead but carded a six-under-par 65 for a 13-under-par 271 and forced a three-way play-off with Bhullar and Thailand&aposs Boonchu Ruangkit. Boonchu bogeyed the second play-off hole while both Beck and Bhullar made pars, meaning a third hole was necessary to determine the winner. And Beck secured the win when he birdied from 10 feet while Bhullar could only make par. “I was sitting in the locker room and cooling off as I thought that there will be no way I could put myself in a play-off,” said Beck. “It was very nerve-racking but it&aposs definitely great to make it to six-under and to win in the play-off.” Finally, Matthew Millar was the best placed Australian in a tie for 29th at the Moravia Silesia Open in the Czech Republic. Sweden&aposs Oskar Henningsson won the tournament by two strokes, with English duo Sam Little and Steve Webster sharing second place at 11-under.