Woods captures his third Buick Open win
GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Tiger Woods won the Buick Open for a third time and claimed his 69th PGA Tour victory.
Woods shot a 3-under-par 69 and coasted to a three-shot victory with a 20-under 268 total at Warwick Hills, which hosted its first Buick Open in 1958 and seemed to stage its final one Sunday.
“I’ve played all around the world, and I’ve never seen a day like this,” said Woods, also the 2002 and 2006 winner at Warwick Hills. “This event has always been special, but today was something else.”
He acknowledged thinking about his walk up 18 at Warwick Hills being his last, leading to him throwing his ball with a lot of velocity back down the fairway to fans. He also tossed a ball into the gallery at 17.
“I never do that, but today was different,” Woods said. “We aren’t coming back here, and I wanted to thank all these people.”
GolfWeek Magazine reported on its Web site that General Motors Co. would end the PGA Tour’s longest partnership, and The Associated Press confirmed it with a person briefed on the decision.
Woods improved to 36-1 when he has the outright lead after 54 holes. Woods has four wins this season — twice as many as anyone else on the PGA Tour — in just 11 starts since returning from knee surgery.
Roland Thatcher (64), Greg Chalmers (68) and John Senden (70) tied for second.
Woods broke the tie with Thatcher with a 21-footer at No. 4, then two-putted from 43 feet to birdie the par-5 seventh. After saving par from the trees on 10 and water on 13, he picked up his final birdie with a two-putt on the par-5 16th.
He moved into first place in the FedEx Cup standings and padded his lead on the money list with another $918,000 after tying Vijay Singh’s record of three Buick Open titles.
With the 69 wins, he trails just Jack Nicklaus (73) and Sam Snead (82).
Dating to the 2006 British Open, Woods has won 21-of-39 starts on the PGA Tour.
Woods, playing for the first time since missing the cut at the British Open, got off to a brutal start at the Buick Open. He shot a 71 in the first round and said it was probably the worst putting performance of his career, leading to him skipping his post-round practice session because he was so mad.
It only added to his legacy because he went from a tie for 95th to a victory, the largest jump he’s made from the first round in a tournament he ended up winning.
He took advantage of the easy course and weak field as expected. The six players who finished within five shots of Woods have a combined four titles.
“He’s just laughing at all of us,” Letzig said. “I wish he’d stop coming to the tournaments I’m coming to. Seriously, though, I love it.”
Woods, whose previous three wins this year were each by one shot, spent much of yesterday with a two-shot cushion before he took a three-stroke lead with the birdie at No. 16.
His businesslike final round included three birdies and no bogeys and won without trailing in the final round for the first time since Bay Hill in 2008.
USGA U.S. Senior Open
In Carmel, Ind., Fred Funk won the U.S. Senior Open by six strokes, closing with a 7-under-par 65 at Crooked Stick for a tournament-record 20-under total.
Funk, coming off a playoff loss to Loren Roberts last week in the Senior British Open, broke the event mark of 17-under set by Hale Irwin in 2000 at Saucon Valley.
The 53-year-old Funk, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, won his second senior major, following the 2008 JELD-WEN Tradition. He has five Champions Tour victories.
Joey Sindelar (70) finished second at 14 under, Russ Cochran (68) was 12-under, and Roberts (64) and Greg Norman (73) followed at 11-under.
Tennessee amateur Tim Jackson, the leader after the first two days, tied for 11th at 6-under 282, the lowest score by an amateur in event history. He closed with a 76.
Women’s British Open
In Lytham St. Annes, England, Catriona Matthew won the Women’s British Open for her first major title, beating Karrie Webb by three strokes just 10 weeks after giving birth to her second child.
The 39-year-old Scot birdied three straight holes on the back nine to hold her third-round lead. She closed with a 1-over 71 to finish at 3-under 285 at historic Royal Lytham and St. Annes. Webb finished with a 68.
Paula Creamer (71), Hee-Won Han (70), Ai Miyazato (73) and Christina Kim (74) tied for third at 1-over.
Wie added to Solheim Cup team
Michelle Wie was selected as a wild card to make her Solheim Cup debut for the United States yesterday, and Catriona Matthew made Europe’s team after capturing the Women’s British Open.
American captain Beth Daniel also picked Juli Inkster, who will make her eighth Solheim Cup appearance and at 49 will become the oldest player to compete in the matches.
Wie — who finished tied for 11th at 4 over in the Women’s British Open — and Inkster did not earn enough points to get a top-10 place for the Aug. 21-23 series at Sugar Grove, Ill.
“I am so honored, so thrilled,” Wie said. “I am so excited to be wearing this jacket and this hat and to be representing my country is such a thrill for me. I am so honored that Beth picked me and I will do my best not to let her down.”
Wie and Inkster will team with Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Nicole Castrale, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Kristy McPherson, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis.