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September 15, 2009

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Triumphant Woods hails best season

TIGER Woods celebrated his sixth title of the season at the BMW Championship on Sunday and described the year as one of his most successful despite failing to win a major.

"Absolutely, it's one of my best years," said Woods, after romping to an eight-stroke victory at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Illinois. "There's no doubt about that.

"I haven't won as many times as I did in 2000, didn't win any majors this year.

"But I've never had a year where I've been this consistent, either, this many high finishes and the number of events I've played. To have an opportunity just about every time I tee it up to win the championship on the back nine, that's something that I can't tell you how proud I am."

After recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, the 33-year-old American returned to the PGA Tour in March at the Match Play Championship finishing tied for 17th. In his following 15 starts he has finished out of the top 10 only twice.

In six events since failing to make the cut at the British Open in August, he has won three events and finished second twice. He has won nearly US$10 million and heads to Atlanta for the season-ending Tour Championship, and a possible US$10 million bonus, in two weeks leading the FedEx Cup table.

At Cog Hill, Woods, who began the day with a seven-shot cushion over American Brandt Snedeker and Australian Marc Leishman, closed with a three-under 68 to win for a fifth time in Lemont.

It was Woods 71st PGA Tour title leaving him just two short of tying Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time list.

There was no hint of drama during the sun-kissed final round, as Woods' challengers were unable to mount a charge against a workmanlike performance by the world No. 1.

American Jim Furyk, who held off Woods to win at Cog Hill in 2005, returned a bogey-free five-under 66 to finish second alongside PGA Tour rookie Leishman (69) at 11-under 273.

Sean O'Hair (66) was alone in fourth, one shot further back at 10-under followed by fellow American Zach Johnson (68) at eight-under. Ireland's Padraig Harrington (73) and Spain's Sergio Garcia (71) finished in a tie for sixth on six-under 278.

Woods, who shot a course record 62 on Saturday, mixed a bogey at the fifth with birdies at the seventh and ninth to reach the turn at one-under and his seven-shot lead intact.

Snedeker missed a chance to join the 30-man field in Atlanta after carding a triple bogey on the final hole.

The American needed only to two-putt from 15-feet to secure a spot at the Tour Championship but he twice missed tap-ins to finish with a seven, which dropped him to 33rd in the FedEx standings.

Aussie John Senden finished in the 30th and final spot.


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