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Tiger wins by a stroke as Kim flops

TIGER Woods overcame a course record-equalling performance by Hunter Mahan to win the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday.

Tournament host Woods fired a 3-under par 67 to finish at 13-under 267, one stroke better than Mahan, whose sizzling final round 62 had lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.

But Woods snapped a tie with Mahan by rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-five 16th before parring the final two holes at the pristine course outside Washington DC.

"It was into the left centre of the hole, and at the very end it started going left," Woods said of his birdie putt. "It was like, 'Oh, God, just don't lip out now.'

"It went in, and from there I said, 'Okay, now if I can just play the last two holes, fairways and greens, let's just get the win.'"

The final round was expected to be a duel between Woods and Anthony Kim, but Kim stumbled midway through the final round and finished in third place, four strokes off the pace.

Kim, who began the day tied with Woods for the lead, had two birdies, three bogeys and a slew of missed opportunities to defend his title.

"I'll be knocking at the door again, it's just a matter of time," said the 24-year-old. "I've gotten a lot better, stayed a lot more patient than I used to. It's only a matter of time.

"I learned that if you have a birdie putt, you'd better make it, especially on the last day. Tiger obviously wins for a reason. He makes the putts when he needs to. Unfortunately they didn't drop for me today."

Mahan opened the day six strokes behind the leaders but stormed back into contention by matching the Congressional course record Kim set during the first round on Thursday.

"I'm very proud of how I played, whether I won or lost," said the 27-year-old Mahan, whose lone PGA victory was in 2007. "I'm excited about what I'm doing right now.

"This gives me a lot of confidence that I know I can shoot a low round at any given point."

Mahan began the day not even on Woods' radar screen.

"What Hunter did today was pretty impressive," Woods said after securing a US$1 million payday for his 68th career title. "I certainly didn't see that score out there.

"He went out there and put so much pressure on both AK (Kim) and I. I think he was done when we were on 12, so six holes to go, and at the time I was tied for the lead.

"It was just like, you can go either way. You can win the tournament or you can lose the tournament from here.

"Just got to keep plodding along and hopefully maybe sneak one or two birdies coming in and get the title."

American Bryce Molder shot a final-round 68 to finish in fourth place, five shots behind Woods, and one shot better than US Open champion Lucas Glover and Brandt Snedeker.


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