| Davis Love III shakes hands with his caddie John Burke after winning The International on Sunday. (Reuters)
Castle Rock: Davis Love III won his fourth PGA Tour title of the season on Sunday as he cruised to a 12-point victory at The International, an event that uses the modified Stableford scoring format.
Love earned $900,000 for the win after adding five points to his total for a final round one-under-par 71 to finish with 46 points.
South Africa’s Retief Goosen and Fiji’s Vijai Singh tied for second with 34 points.
Chris DiMarco finished fourth with 33 points and John Rollins, second overnight, was fifth with 31. World number two Ernie Els had the best round of the day, a 66 that netted him 13 points and pulled him into a tie for sixth with Phil Mickelson.
Els was the only player in the field to accumulate double-digit points in the final round.
Love, who led after each of the first three rounds, began the day with a 10-point margin over Rollins, but no one was able to mount a serious challenge to the 1997 PGA Championship winner.
As a measure of Love’s domination of this event, no player in the field was able to score in four rounds the number of points Love did in his first two — 36.
“Obviously the first two rounds set the tournament up for me,” Love said.
“All I had to do was play well on the weekend and that’s what I did. I did what I had to do and made some birdies when needed. I never put myself in much trouble and hung in there real good.”
Love amassed 13 birdies, three eagles, two bogeys and one double-bogey in his first two rounds.
When no player really challenged him in the third or fourth rounds, Love made seven birdies and four bogeys.
It was still more than enough to win, but not enough to set a new tournament scoring record.
Mickelson and Els share that mark of 48 points set in 1997 and 2000, respectively.
The win tied Love with world number one Tiger Woods for most victories this season.
The prize money also pushed Love ahead of Woods into the top spot on the Tour’s money list.
Love has won $5,122,038 to Woods $4,810,496.
The only way Love could have lost on Sunday was to play miserably, and his performance over the first four holes — three birdies and a bogey for five points — showed he had no intention of letting that happen.
He said the bitter memory of coming so close to winning the British Open influenced his play on Sunday.
“I had to get off to a good start,” Love said.
“I knew if I got off to a good start over the first five or six holes at the British Open, I could have won that golf tournament and I didn’t do it.
“That was the challenge for me today, to get off to a good start.”
After making birdie on the first, third and fourth holes, Love ran off par after par until the final three holes when he sandwiched two bogeys around a birdie on the 17th.
“I’ve won several different ways this year,” Love said.
“It’s nice to come out and lead a golf tournament the whole way through and see what that feels like.
“You prepare yourself to win, but sometimes you don’t prepare yourself for every eventuality.