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November 16, 2009

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Home » Sports » Golf

Woods masters field to reign Down Under

TIGER Woods celebrated his first visit Down Under in 11 years with a win at the Australian Masters yesterday, the world No. 1 banishing his swing demons in time to hold off a dogged local field by two strokes.

Woods, joint leader overnight with Australia's James Nitties and Greg Chalmers, carded a four-under 68 to finish with a 14-under total of 274 in bright sunshine at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne.

Chalmers finished second on 276, with American Jason Dufner and France's Francois Delamontagne two shots further back at the A$1.5 million (US$1.4 million) co-sanctioned tournament.

"It was a great day today," Woods, wearing the tournament's 'gold jacket', told reporters after a five-birdie, one-bogey round.

"Now I've won on every continent which is nice, except for Antarctica ... To have won on every playable continent is something I've always wanted to do, and now I've done that."

After wayward driving and putting saw Woods cast a dejected figure on Saturday, the 14-time major champion quickly found his groove during the final round with a birdie on the par-five first after splitting the fairway with his drive.

A pair of sublime iron shots on the fifth and sixth holes - the first landing within three feet of the pin, the next two feet closer - put Woods two strokes clear of the field.

However, it was a saved par-putt on the ninth that gave Woods, who struggled on the greens on Saturday, an important shot of confidence heading back into the clubhouse.

After another birdie on the par-five 12th, it took a photographer snapping shots during his downswing on the par-four 13th to break his composure, the American ending with a bogey.

But a birdie on the par-three 15th and three straight pars to finish were enough to shut out Chalmers, who had his chances to close the gap, but let himself down repeatedly on the greens.

Woods received a winner's check for A$270,000, less than a 10th of the US$3 million appearance fee paid up between organizers and the state government.

Australia's Adam Scott finished strongly with a three-under 69 to finish joint sixth, six strokes behind.


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