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  Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 00:03 GMT
Woods strolls to victory
Tiger Woods
The closing holes were comfortable for Woods

Tiger Woods claimed his eighth major title with victory in the US Open at Bethpage, New York, on Sunday, as his closest rivals again failed to provide a serious challenge.

Woods finished on three under par after a final round of 72, three strokes clear of Phil Mickelson, with Jeff Maggert on two over and Sergio Garcia a further shot back.

I have won the slam before, and hopefully I can do it again

Tiger Woods

Only a brief suspension of play due to a nearby storm threatened to stop Woods taking the title on the fourth day.

And that was despite the world number one struggling to find anything like his best game for the second successive day.

Even though he was the only player to break par for four rounds, Woods denied it had been a procession.

"It was not that easy. This golf course was awfully difficult," he said.

"Phil (Mickelson) played well, and I did not get off to the greatest start. It was a long, long day."

Woods dropped shots on the first two holes and saw his lead cut to two by both Mickelson and Garcia at one stage.

But as so often in recent major championships the challengers slipped up almost immediately, and a single birdie from Woods on the seventh further eased the pressure.

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia struggled on the final day

Garcia went out in the final pairing with Woods but dropped three strokes in 11 holes, while Padraig Harrington and Maggert were soon heading in the wrong direction.

Mickelson showed the occasional flash of brilliance, and when he birdied the 10th to move two behind Woods it seemed possible he might challenge.

But earlier bogeys on the fifth and sixth proved too much to overcome and Mickelson ran out of inspiration in the closing holes, finishing runner-up for the second time.

Nick Faldo put in another battling performance to claim the top-15 finish that will see him return to the US Open next year.

A birdie on the second was followed by four bogeys in 11 holes, but he held on for a 75 that saw him finish in fifth place on five over.

Veterans Scott Hoch and Nick Price had good final rounds to make the top 10, but it was Woods who stole the show without ever needing to find top gear.

And the fact that he was able to finish with an untidy bogey only emphasised the gap between Woods and the rest of the field.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Tony Adamson
"Woods led from start to finish"
Tiger Woods
"It's not easy to win"
BBC Sport Online's US Open 2002 news section

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