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The Open 2010: Tiger Woods blames poor form on putting

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
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Woods wants putting improvement

Tiger Woods blamed poor putting for his failure to mount a serious Open challenge at St Andrews on Sunday.

Woods saw his hopes of an unlikely fourth Open title end with two double bogeys on the front nine on the way to a final-round 72 to finish three under.

"I am driving the ball better than I have done in a long time but this was one of the worst putting weeks I've ever had," he told BBC Sport.

"It was one of those weeks when I couldn't put anything together."

Woods has failed to win any of the three majors he has played since he returned from a five-month break from golf, following revelations about extra-marital affairs.

The world number one, who won the 2000 and 2005 Opens at St Andrews, started the final round nine shots behind overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen, but birdies at the first and third hinted at a charge.

However, Woods had a double bogey six at the fourth and then found further trouble with another double bogey at the par-four seventh to drop back to one under and out of contention.

World number two Phil Mickelson saw his own hopes evaporate as a dire finish dropped him to one over, while defending champion Stewart Cink finished on the same score.

Mickelson's final five holes made ugly reading at six, four, six, five, four as the left-hander's extremely slim chances of replacing Woods as world number one went up in smoke - at least for now.

Cink praised the crowd at St Andrews after bowing out with a two-over 74 to finish one over par.

The American famously defeated five-time winner Tom Watson in a four-hole play-off to win at Turnberry in 2009, denying the 59-year-old the chance of a fairytale sixth Open win.

"It's been a lot of fun. It's always fun to play at the Old Course but as defending champion it was special and had a lot more meaning for me," admitted Cink.

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"It's been a great year for me. I've really enjoyed being the Open champion.

"They always remember the champions here but the crowd have been great here. I think they've forgiven me for beating Tom last year! Hopefully I can go away and come back with a strong challenge again next year."

Tom Lehman, the champion in 1996, was understandably buoyant after finishing his final round with a flourish.

The American eagled the par-four 18th to finish on four under, giving the 51-year-old the honour of finishing as the highest-placed defending champion of the week.

"I'm feeling good and I still believe I can have good weeks in the future...but I don't think I could get to 15 under," said Lehman, who also ends up as the best-placed man older than 50.

Jeong finishes as top amateur

Korean Jin Jeong - 31 years Lehman's junior - also finished with a stunning eagle at the 18th as he won the Silver Medal for being the leading amateur in style.

Jeong completed a fine week with a level-par 72 to finish on four under par and admitted afterwards that he planned to turn professional in time for the 2011 Open at Sandwich.

"It was a great finish on the last hole - I don't think I can forget this forever," he told BBC Sport. "I got a lot of confidence from this tournament and I really enjoyed this week.

"I want to play the Masters next year so I will probably [turn pro] after that."

Tom Lehman

Lehman hits 18th tee-shot to two feet



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see also
The Open day four photos
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Donald delighted by strong finish
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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