Date: March 17, 2008

Woods wins again

Tiger Woods revealed that previous experience allowed him to remain calm after he birdied the final hole to claim a dramatic victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With the tournament host among the overflowing gallery at the 18th hole, Tiger Woods curled in an unlikely 24-foot birdie to claim an exciting one-stroke victory in Orlando. It was the only putt Woods holed from outside 20 feet all week, but nobody, least of all Palmer, was at all surprised that Woods rose to the occasion when it really mattered to extend his six-month winning streak to seven. Woods&apos first priority was to lag his downhill, breaking putt to tap-in distance, but the longer he thought about it, the more he wanted to make it. “I kept telling myself, &aposI&aposve done this before and I can do it again&apos,” Woods said. “I was just trying to make sure I got the speed right. I felt good over the putt. I hit the putt down there and it took forever to start breaking, but once it started, it went straight right and in the hole.” The win was Woods&apos fifth consecutive victory on the US Tour and sixth tournament title in a row after claiming the European Tour&aposs Dubai Desert Classic in February. Geoff Ogilvy was the best placed Australian, the 30-year-old carding the equal best round of the day (66) to finish in a tie for 14th place, seven shots behind the world No.1. It was Woods&apos 64th career victory on the PGA Tour, equal third on the all-time list with Ben Hogan, behind only Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73). This was a more hard-fought victory than most recently, coming after a slow start, a seven-stroke halfway deficit and a tight battle down the stretch with Bart Bryant. But Woods did what he had to do, shooting a final-round 66 to finish at 10-under-par 270, one stroke ahead of Bryant (67), with Cliff Kresge (67), Vijay Singh (69) and Sean O&aposHair (69) another two strokes behind. Woods will savour his latest victory more than most, although he is reluctant to compare. “I don&apost know where it ranks,” he said. “It was great to make the putt, but I was so excited with the five-iron I hit in there to give myself a putt at it. “You have to understand I had not hit the ball well the last three days, and then to have that shot with everything on the line, and to hit a shot and give myself a putt at it, I was so fired up.” Bryant, who watched Woods&apos winning putt after finishing in the previous pairing, was obviously disappointed. “What are you going to do?” he said. “I was pretty hopeless sitting there in the trailer, but I did what I thought I was supposed to do, which was put the pressure back on Tiger to make the play. He has a habit of making it when he needs to.” At least Bryant made it a contest, pulling level with a short birdie at the 15th before parring in to keep the great one honest. Earlier, Woods and Bryant started the final round as part of a five-way tie for the lead, and Woods took little time to stamp his authority, taking the sole lead with a birdie at the par-three second. He added two more birdies on the front nine to turn in front, only to miss an inexplicably short putt of little more than two feet at the 10th, a bogey dropping him back into a tie with Bryant. “I got too fixated on the line (with my first putt) and blocked the next one,” he said. “I kept yelling at myself going to the next tee. It was just a bad mistake.” Woods will attempt to extend his winning streak at the World Golf Championships event in Miami starting on Thursday. Whether he wins there or not, he will go to next month&aposs Masters as perhaps the hottest favourite ever. Of the remaining Australians to made the halfway cut, John Senden (69) and Matt Jones (73) tied for 48th place at three-over, while compatriot Steve Elkington (74) finished in equal 64th position at seven-over. Fourth Round Scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, FL -10: Tiger Woods 70 68 66 66 -9: Bart Bryant 68 68 68 67 -7: Cliff Kresge 67 68 71 67, Vijay Singh 66 65 73 69, Sean O Hair 72 69 63 69 -6: Ken Duke 67 67 72 68, Hunter Mahan 68 72 65 69 -4: Niclas Fasth 71 66 73 66, Alex Cejka 67 70 71 68, Carl Patterson 68 65 74 69, Tom Pernice Jr 73 66 68 69, Tom Lehman 66 69 71 70, Bubba Watson 67 69 68 72 -3: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 72 69 70 66, Retief Goosen 70 71 68 68, Brandt Snedeker 70 70 68 69 -2: Woody Austin 71 67 72 68, Frank Lickliter II 69 71 68 70, Frederick Jacobson 71 70 67 70, Lee Westwood 66 68 72 72, Phil Mickelson 72 67 71 69 Also: +3: John Senden (Australia) 70 72 72 69, Matt Jones (Australia) 70 68 72 73 +7: Steve Elkington (Australia) 74 68 71 74