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Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017

Tiger Back To Winning Ways At Bay Hill

ORLANDO - Tiger Woods had not felt such an adrenaline rush in nine months, especially when he stood over a 12-foot birdie putt Sunday at Bay Hill with only enough sunlight remaining for one last shot. It made Woods forget that it had been nine months since he played under so much pressure. And then he made golf remember the magic it had been missing. With cameras flashing in the approaching darkness, Woods delivered another rock-star moment by making a birdie on the final hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one shot and match the largest comeback in his PGA Tour career.
"It feels good to be back in contention, to feel the rush," Woods said. "It's been awhile, but God, it felt good." It sure looked that way. Just like last year, when Woods made a 25-foot birdie on the final hole at Bay Hill to win by one, he crouched and backpedaled as the putt rolled toward the cup. But instead of slamming his cap to the ground, he gave a roundhouse fist pump and ran into the arms of caddie Steve Williams, who lifted him off the ground in celebration. Welcome back, Tiger. "Last year ... there wasn't any big comeback or anything. I was out there just competing as usual," Woods said. "This time, it was a little bit different. I hadn't been in the mix since the U.S. Open, so it was neat to feel the heat on the back nine again." Starting the final round five shots behind, Woods closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-shot victory against hard-luck Sean O'Hair. It was the third time Woods won at Bay Hill with a birdie putt on the 18th hole, and this uphill putt was the easiest of all. O'Hair made only one birdie and closed with a 73, but he steadied himself along the back nine until a mistake on the 16th hole, when he went at the flag with Woods in the rough. His 7-iron came up short and into the water, leading to a bogey. "I think what happened is when the sun was going down a little bit, I guess that kind of proved to me that the ball wasn't quite going as far," O'Hair said. Woods finished at 5-under 275 and won $1.08 million for his 66th career victory. Zach Johnson shot 69 and finished third at 278. LPGA: Karrie Webb shot a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory in the J Golf LPGA International in Phoenix, her first win on the tour in two years. The 34-year-old Australian earned her 36th career LPGA Tour title, finishing at 14-under 274. Third-round leader Jiyai Shin of South Korea shot a 70 to finish second. CHAMPIONS: Keith Fergus holed out with a wedge from 95 yards on the 17th hole, capping a dramatic rally from four shots down to win the Cap Cana Championship in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. Fergus shot a 5-under 67 to finish at 13-under 203, one shot clear of Mark O'Meara (68) and Lakeland's Andy Bean (65).