Tiger purrs past Hunter, lifts trophy

BETHESDA: Tiger Woods turned a Hunter into the hunted on Sunday, stalking his prey for several holes before pouncing on a rare birdie chance to win the PGA National by one stroke.

World No 1 Woods sank a tension-packed 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th hole to seize the lead, then added two routine pars to capture his 68th career title and third of the season in his final British Open tuneup. The 14-time major champion who doubled as tournament host shot a three-under par 67 final round to finish on 13-under 267 at Congressional Country Club and claimed $1 million top prize at the $6 million event.

Mahan matched the 18-hole course record of eight-under 62 set in Thursday’s opening round by fellow American Anthony Kim to seize the clubhouse lead on 268 with Tiger still on the prowl and stalking Hunter across the back nine. Woods sent his tee shot at the 16th into the left rough, put his approach into the greenside rough and left his chip 20 feet short of the cup.

The 14-time Major champion rammed the ball into the bottom of the cup to reclaim the lead for good. Woods, a winner for the 46th time in 49 US PGA events when leading after 54 holes, also won this year at Bay Hill and Memorial, each victory coming two weeks before a Major.

Mahan made three birdies on the front nine and had runs of three birdies in four holes to begin and end the back nine, taking his lone bogey at 14 and dropped a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to intensify the pressure on Woods. Woods was on his nemesis hole, the par-4 11th. He found weeds and a ditch off the tee and sank a five-foot putt to salvage a bogey, falling into a tie for the lead with Mahan where he stayed until the critical birdie at 16. Woods had three bogeys and a double bogey at the 11th.

Kim was third on the all-American leaderboard, four strokes off the pace. Bryce Molder was fourth (272) with US Open champion Lucas Glover and Brandt Snedeker fifth (273).