| Tiger Woods with the trophy after winning the WGC-American Express Championship on Sunday. (AP)
Atlanta: Tiger Woods picked up his fifth PGA Tour title of the season with a two-shot victory in the WGC-American Express Championship at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course at Woodstock here Sunday. Woods, who carded a two-over-par 72 for his worst round of the tournament by three strokes, finished on six-under 274 to earn $ 1,050,000.
Fiji’s Vijai Singh, American Tim Herron and Australia’s Stuart Appleby tied for second on 276. David Toms finished alone in fifth another stroke back, while Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and South Korea’s K.J. Choi shared sixth on 279.
The world number one’s 39th PGA Tour win was never in much doubt, but it had its moments. Starting the final round with a two-shot lead over Singh and a three-shot advantage over Herron, Woods came under pressure from the latter midway through the round when Herron birdied the ninth hole as the leader bogeyed.
After Herron dropped a shot on the 10th, he got within one shot of the lead once more with a birdie on the par-five 12th.
However, a Woods birdie on the same hole and Herron’s three-over-par performance over the last six holes gave the winner a comfortable cushion.
“Today was just about being conservative,” Woods said. “I didn’t have to try and shoot a low number today. I knew that if I shot one (over), maybe two at the most, that would get the job done.”
The victory was also significant for Woods in that he is now level with Gene Sarazen and Tom Watson in ninth place on the PGA Tour’s all-time victory list.
The victory also propelled Woods to the top of the tour’s money earnings list. All of which now makes him a legitimate contender for Player of the Year honours and the money title.
The two Indians in fray — Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa — faced late hole blues to deny themselves the chance of finishing higher up in the field.
Atwal, triple-bogeyed the final hole of his round to return a final round card of four-over 74. That ensured a tied-48th finish for him at 14-over 294, according to information received here.
Randhawa’s card displayed a hat-trick of double bogeys on the 16th, 17th and 18th which contributed to his finishing at six-over 76. His tournament aggregate of 16-over 296 tied him at 54th position.
Atwal’s dropped a shot early on the second hole but went on to return a hattrick of birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh.
His second bogey of the day on the ninth saw him make the turn at one-under. His back-nine however, was a disaster. Bogeys on the 11th and 16th were followed by a nightmarish triple bogey on the par-4 18th.
Randhawa, despite suffering from flu, played his front-nine to level-par with birdies on the fifth and seventh being off-set by bogeys on the eighth and ninth. His third straight bogey on the tenth was followed by a birdie on the 12th. However, disaster was just round the corner. A series of double bogeys on his closing holes led him to lose six strokes and finish with a final round score of six-over 76.