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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tiger Woods wins Buick Open

Tiger Woods wins Buick Open

August 03, 2009 10:04 IST

Tiger Woods captured the Buick Open title for a third and possibly final time on Sunday, cruising to a three-shot victory at an event that looks set to become the latest victim of the economic downturn.

The troubled Detroit automaker is expected to pull its sponsorship next season, meaning the tournament will disappear from the PGA Tour calendar.

If Sunday was indeed the tournament's final bow, then it could not have wished for a better send-off, the world number one delighting the fans at one of his favourite venues with a clinical, and at times emotional, victory.

"I've never played in front of fans like this," Woods told reporters after a bogey-free final round of 69.

"This has been incredible, especially what's going on here in the area, for everyone to come out, it just makes it that much more special for all of us.

"I've been here since '99, and I've always enjoyed coming here. Only two years I haven't played here is because of the birth of my child, and my knee wasn't very good last year.

"So that's the only two times I haven't played here.

Playing his first event since missing the cut at the British Open, Woods began a sun-kissed day at Warwick Hills with a one-shot cushion and was never challenged, picking up birdies at the fourth, seventh and 16th for a 20-under 268.

Australians Greg Chalmers (69), John Senden (71) and American Roland Thatcher, with the round of the day an eight-under 64, finished in a tie for second on 17-under 271.

ULTIMATE FRONTRUNNER

Golf's ultimate frontrunner, the world number one is now 36-1 when holding the solo lead going into final round, Woods won his fourth PGA Tour title this season and 69th of his career, leaving him four behind Jack Nicklaus (73) on the all-time list.

Three of those 69 wins have come at the Buick Open, a fixture on the PGA Tour schedule for more than 50 years, but which now looks set to leave Michigan, joining the thousands of auto workers who have lost their jobs.

There was no official announcement about the tournament's future on Sunday but for the spectators, volunteers and Woods himself the event's fate was sealed.

Woods worked his away around the tree-lined layout to an out-pouring of sincere appreciation as spectators acknowledged his loyalty to the event with calls of "Thank you Tiger for remembering Michigan".

When the 14-times major winner stepped onto greens the galleries pleaded for "One more year" and "Save the Buick".

In an uncharacteristic display of emotion, Woods' intense focus faded as he made his way up the par three 17th and tossed his ball into the cheering crowd.

A beaming Woods did it again at the 18th to even wilder applause.

"I don't ever do that but this is different," Woods told reporters. "We're not coming back here and I just wanted to say thank you to all the people here.

"That's one of the reasons why I tossed it at 18 as well. They came out to support this event over all the years, especially this year.

"With the economy, how it is going on in this region, for them to come and still support the event is very special to all us players."

Source:
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