Tiger Woods seized the lead late in the final round and held on to win on Sunday at the AT&T National in Maryland.
The world No. 1 sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, and parred out the remaining two holes to defeat Hunter Mahan by a stroke and challenger Anthony Kim by four. The tournament prize was Woods’ 68th career victory. Sunday’s final round had been billed as a showdown between Woods and Kim, a challenger many golf analysts have projected as being a possible successor to Woods as the world’s top-rated golfer. The two were tied going into the final round. But after an opening-hole birdie, Kim fell back from the leaderboard. He finished Sunday shooting a 71. Woods’ bid to win the PGA Tour tournament he hosts to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation had suffered a series of setbacks on Saturday. The 33-year-old had led Australia’s Rod Pampling with Kim in third place at eight-under at the start of the third round.
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But playing with Pampling in the final group, in front of big crowds celebrating American Independence Day, Woods immediately hit trouble, bogeying the 402-yard, par-four first hole to fall into a shared lead with Pampling on nine-under. Pampling then moved into the outright lead with a birdie at the par-four third to go to 10-under, one shot ahead of Woods, who won the Bay Hill and Memorial tournaments earlier this year. However, the Australian bogeyed holes four and five while Woods bogeyed the par-four sixth before recording his first birdie of the day with a three at the eighth. An eagle three followed at the 602-yard ninth but Woods then double bogeyed the par-four 11th, before a birdie at the par-five 16th helped him to what was a disappointing 70. Kim, who on Thursday had shot a course-record 62, also had a bad start with a bogey at the opening hole but he bounced back with a birdie at the third and eighth. A bogey followed at the ninth but he birdied the 12th and 16th en route to a 68 that will help Kim fulfil a dream held since he was nine. “I used to practice thinking I was in the final round with Tiger, final putt, had to make a 10-footer to win the golf tournament, he was watching me,” Kim said.