Woods rallies to victory

AKRON: The battle was everything Tiger Woods expected. The finish was nothing anyone imagined, except for Woods hoisting another World Golf Championship trophy at Firestone.

Woods was in trouble in the trees on the famous par-5 16th hole, one shot behind Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, trying to figure out how he could squeeze out a victory in the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday. He delivered another signature moment, this one an 8-iron from 178 that wound up a foot from the hole for birdie.

Moments later, with an official timing his every shot, Padraig Harrington rushed

his way into a stunning meltdown. He hit five straight shots without losing his turn, made triple bogey and became a mere bystander the final two holes as Woods won for the 70th time in his career.

Woods closed with a 5-under 65, becoming the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven times on the same golf course and giving him back-to-back victories going into the PGA Championship, his last chance to win a major this year.

They were timed earlier in the round, then told by John Paramor, the PGA European Tour’s chief referee, they were on the clock on the 16th tee, with Harrington in the lead by one shot. Knowing he had no time to contemplate his escape from the trees, the collar of a bunker and a dicey flop shot behind the green, he turned the hole known as “The Monster” into an utter mess. The pivotal play was his fourth shot behind the green, which came out hot and into the water.

Woods, who has won the Bridgestone Invitational

seven times in 10 starts and has never finished out of the top five, closed out in style with a 6-foot birdie putt.