Tiger Woods wins the Tour Championship with a final-round 71

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Tiger Woods wins the Tour Championship with a final-round 71

Tiger Woods closed the Tour Championship at East Lake with a final-round 1-over 71 for a two-stroke victory over Billy Horschel and his first win since 2013.

Woods began the day with two beautifully struck shots and a smooth 10-footer for birdie at the opening hole, serving notice that he had no plans of relinquishing the three-stroke lead with which he began the final round of the Tour Championship.

1 hole.
1 birdie. leads by 4 at the .


Indeed, if there was any doubt Tiger Woods would win his 80th PGA Tour event, and his first since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational, Woods’ steadiness throughout his opening holes put that corrosive quantity to rest — save for a few tense moments over the final few holes.

With a 10-foot putt to save par at the fourth hole, Woods stayed four ahead of Justin Rose and five strokes ahead of Rory McIlroy, who remained stuck in neutral. Rose missed his par effort a hole ahead moments later. For Woods, five strokes clear of the field, the march was on.

Well, sort of. He did flub this delicate pitch after flying the green with his approach shot at the par-5 sixth hole.

It was never going to be easy.


And yet, with Woods driving it well (he found the fairway at the 481-yard seventh hole with a 293-yard stinger off the tee following the par at the fifth), it was always going to take torrid play from either Rose or McIlroy to keep Woods from No. 80; the par train would assure him his 43rd victory in 45 tries when leading entering the final round of a PGA Tour event.

Woods parred the second through the ninth holes, making the turn with a 1-under 34. He made the turn at East Lake with a five-stroke lead.

Wayward off the tee at the 10th, Woods punched out from the trees, leading to his first bogey of the day. No matter, as Rose made bogey ahead and Woods lead remained at five.

Steady, smart, it was mostly a story of putting himself on the right side of fairways and the right spots on East Lake’s lightning-quick greens over his next few holes until a 141-yard approach shot set up a 13-foot birdie at the par-4 13th.

Like that, Woods — for whom it’s not hyperbole to say 9 out of 10 golf fans felt he’d never win another tournament as recently as mid-2017 — was five strokes clear of the field with five holes to play.

After narrowly avoiding a water ball at the par-3 15th hole, Woods reasonably assured himself the victory, even though he was unable to get up and down with his pitch from the rough just beyond the water hazard and bogeyed the hole.


A big break for Tiger Woods.


But he didn’t make it easy on himself, pulling a wood left off the 16th tee that settled down in the rough, punching the ball forward ultimately bogeying the hole to fall to 1 over on his final round and just two strokes ahead of Billy Horschel, in the clubhouse at 9 under, with two holes to play.

Another wayward effort — again left — off the tee at the 17th, and Woods, already sweating profusely in the Georgia heat, surely perspired further. Ultimately, however, he managed to make par, and summarily pounded a 347-yard tee shot down the fairway at the 18th hole with a two-stroke lead.

Woods found the bunker with his approach, but with little doubt left about the outcome of the tournament, he made the walk to the 18th green amid this surreal scene.


— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel)

A tap-in par later, and Woods — who only began hitting full shots in early October of last year following his spinal fusion surgery — captured the Tour Championship and his 80th PGA Tour win.

HE’S DONE IT! ???? has earned his 80th win in storybook fashion at the .


For context on Woods’ incredible return to the winner’s circle, .

Tiger Woods wins the Tour Championship with a final-round 71

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