Tiger Woods Wins At Firestone

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Tiger Woods, playing superbly in wet conditions at Firestone Country Club, cruised to an eight-shot victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

One stroke behind pacesetting Rory Sabbatini at the start of the day, Woods fired a five-under-par 65 to win the tournament for a record sixth time, and a third year in a row.

The American world number one overhauled Sabbatini with three birdies in the first four holes before romping to his 58th PGA Tour career title and fourth this season.

He twice chipped in from just off the green en route to an eight-under total of 272 and a 14th individual victory in a World Golf Championships (WGC) event.

Britain's Justin Rose fired a four-birdie 68 to share second place with South African Sabbatini (74) at level par, one ahead of American Chris DiMarco (70) and Australia's Peter Lonard (68).

"I like these things," Woods told reporters after earning a cheque for $1.35 million and his 11th WGC strokeplay title in 17 starts. "How can you not like playing the world's best players? They (these events) really get our juices going.

"I put a lot of heat on the guys today and the way I played the back nine was just to keep it clean," added the American, who holed a 12-foot putt at the last to keep his card bogey-free. "It was a miracle back nine."

Woods, who has also won six times at the WGC-CA Championship, made an ideal start on a damp, overcast morning.

The 31-year-old struck his approach to six feet to birdie the par-four first and picked up another shot at the par-five second after reaching just short of the green in two.

Having struggled with his putter earlier in the week, Woods took advantage of rain-softened conditions by rolling in birdie putts from 16 feet at the fourth and sixth to tighten his grip.

After his second shot at the par-four ninth ended up in the lap of a spectator sitting beside the green, Woods overshot the putting surface with his third before conjuring a magical chip from 17 feet to salvage his par.

Out in four-under 31, he chipped in from 33 feet to birdie the par-three 12th and stretch his lead to eight, leaving his closest rivals to fight it out for second spot.

Sabbatini birdied the opening hole before losing ground with bogeys at the fourth and fifth. His challenge effectively ended when he double-bogeyed the ninth after finding the rough with his first two shots.

Argentina's Andres Romero briefly held a share of second place with Rose before triple-bogeying the 10th on his way to a 71 and a tie for sixth at two over.


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