Tiger Woods faced another pivotal putt on the 17th hole, this one from only 12 feet, the stakes much higher Saturday afternoon than his signature 35-foot eagle putt he made three days earlier in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz.
Typical of his year, success was inevitable.
“It’s fun to have opportunity, whether you succeed or fail,” he said. “Luckily over my career, I’ve succeeded more than I’ve failed.”
Call this another success, and another trip to the finals.
Woods’ birdie on the 17th carried him to a 2-up victory over defending champion Henrik Stenson, putting him in the 36-hole final match against Stewart Cink, whose flawless front nine gave him a 4-and-2 victory over Justin Leonard.
“Every match is its own little battle,” said Woods, who won for the 22nd time in his last 25 matches at this fickle event. “One of the things I learned from my dad is in match play, you have 18 battles. You’ve just got to win more than they do.”
Paula Creamer rallied to win the Fields Open for her fifth LPGA Tour title, birdieing four of the final five holes for a one-stroke victory over South Korea’s Jeong Jang in Kapolei, Hawaii.
Playing her trademark pink ball in the final round, the 21-year-old Creamer closed with a 6-under-par 66 for a 16-under 200 total.
Jang, seeking a wire-to-wire victory, closed with a 69.
Michelle Wie shot a 6-over 78 to finish 20 strokes behind Creamer. At 4-over 220, Wie tied for last among the 74 players who made the cut.
Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot 1-under 71 and tied for 54th.
Mexico’s Esteban Toledo chipped in from about 25 yards for an eagle on No. 13, then closed with a birdie on 18 to finish with a 7-under 63 that lifted him into fifth place at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. At 8-under 202, he was seven strokes behind Brian Gay going into the final round of the PGA Tour’s second visit south of the border.
Defending champions Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson won eight skins and a record $270,000 in alternate-shot play in the first nine holes of the Champions Skins Game in Kaanapali, Hawaii.
With five skins and $180,000 at stake on the 202-yard ninth hole, Watson hit a 5-iron 15 feet above the hole and Nicklaus made the curling birdie putt. Nicklaus and Watson broke their first-day mark of $260,000 set two years ago in the first year of the alternate-shot team format.
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