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Graeme McDowell beats Tiger Woods in Chevron play-off

Chevron World Challenge final leaderboard:
-15 G McDowell (NI)*, T Woods (US) (*McDowell wins after play-off) -12 P Casey (Eng) -11 R McIlroy (NI) -10 H Mahan (US) -9 S Cink (US), I Poulter (Eng) -5 L Donald (Eng)


Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell overhauled a four-shot deficit on Tiger Woods before beating the American on the first play-off hole to win the Chevron World Challenge.

McDowell cut Woods's advantage early on and led by two after the 13th, but the pair tied on 16 under par at the end of 72 holes to go into sudden death.

The US Open champion holed from 20ft for birdie to clinch a fourth title of the season as Woods's putt slid by.

"2010 has been the stuff of dreams," the Northern Irishman said.

Woods, however, ended a tumultuous year without a win for the first time in his career.

Following much-publicised revelations about his private life in November last year, Woods took five months away from golf and although he achieved fourth-placed finishes at the first two majors of the season, the Masters and the US Open, he often struggled for form.

McDowell delighted with 'amazing' 2010 finale

He was joint 23rd at The Open and tied for 28th at the USPGA, but without a win since the 2009 Australian Open, the 34-year-old lost his world number one ranking to Lee Westwood.

However, setting out on Sunday at the Sherwood Country Club in California, Woods had reason to be confident, having never previously lost a tournament in which he led by at least three strokes going into the final round.

But he could only manage a 73 to McDowell's 69, while England's Paul Casey took third place on 12 under with Rory McIlroy another shot adrift in the 18-man invitational tournament, hosted by Woods to benefit his charitable foundation.

He began on 17 under but opened bogey, birdie, bogey, while playing partner McDowell, 31, birdied the par-five second to edge to 14 under and then picked up another at the fourth to narrow the gap to one.

Both players birdied the long fifth before a succession of pars, but everything changed when McDowell birdied 13 and Woods made a double bogey.

Woods took his hand off the club after a poor tee shot that found the left rough and forced him to lay up.

He let his hands off the club again following another wayward shot as a wedge sailed over the green, he then chipped through the green, chipped back six feet past and missed the put to card a seven.

But McDowell's two-shot lead was short-lived as he dropped a shot at the 14th.

Graeme McDowell
US Open champion McDowell won his fourth title of the season

Still one ahead, the Northern Irishman, ranked 12th in the world before the event, found deep grass to the right of the par-three 17th green but took a drop and chipped on to make a brave bogey.

Woods's approach found the heart of the green and he made a safe par three to go up the 18th tied with McDowell on 15 under.

Both men found the middle of the fairway and Woods was first to play, hitting a towering approach to just a few feet.

McDowell's second caught the left of the green but he sank the putt from about 20ft for a birdie, as Woods stroked in his putt to force the play-off.

Playing the 18th again, McDowell caught the trees on the right but got a fortunate kick into the first cut and hit a similar approach to earlier. Woods's second was inside his opponent's, leaving a putt of about 15ft.

McDowell was first to go and drained an almost identical putt to the one he made on the 72nd hole as Woods shaved the cup but the ball stayed out to hand McDowell the title.

It was his fourth win of a year, which also saw him secure the winning point in the final match in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in October and finish second to Germany's Martin Kaymer in the European Tour's Race to Dubai order of merit.

"Playing one of the greatest golfers who has ever played and to beat him like this I'm just ecstatic," McDowell commented.

Despite his victory, he predicted Woods would be a force to be reckoned with in 2011.

"He used to appear invincible. Of course he has made himself appear more human in the last 12 months, but there's something a bit special about his golf game and I fully expect that mystique to return."

He added: "I'm definitely a guy who says that golf needs Tiger Woods and we need him back to winning tournaments. I thought he controlled his ball really well the last couple of days - he didn't do a huge lot wrong."

Woods was defiant in defeat, saying: "The middle part of the round today was an exception, but I thought I did some good things this week. I'm proud of the way I played, even though I lost."



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see also
Woods retains lead over McDowell
04 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods extends lead in California
04 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods regains form in California
03 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods seeks winning end to 2010
01 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods engages in Twitter banter
01 Dec 10 |  Golf
Woods fourth as Appleby prospers
14 Nov 10 |  Golf
Don't write off Tiger - Westwood
01 Nov 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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