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Warren Bennett

Woods clinches title with late birdies

Tiger Woods certainly hasn't lost his comeback magic.

Fortunate to be only four strokes down at the turn, Woods poured it on with five straight birdies Sunday to blow by Vijay Singh and win the Williams World Challenge, the final tournament of the season.

Woods tied the course record with an 8-under-par 64 to win by three strokes over Singh, then donated his $1 million check to the Tiger Woods Foundation.

He's not lacking for money, but the kind of round he put together at sunny Sherwood Country Club had not been seen in a while.

``I felt like I needed to put pressure on Vijay, and I was able to do that,'' said Woods, who finished at 273. ``I'm pretty excited to win my tournament.''

Singh, who started the final round with a four-stroke lead, made a few sloppy bogeys to contribute to the comeback, but there wasn't much he could do.

It started on No. 9, Woods' worst hole of the round.

He hit an iron off the tee so far to the right that it cleared a creek and settled in thick brush on the side of a hill. Woods took a penalty drop, then hit his approach under the bleachers behind the green. From there, his chip off a hardpan lie rolled 45 feet past the cup.

That's where the turnaround began.

Singh lagged his 95-foot putt to about 5 feet left for par. Woods rolled his bogey up the ridge and into the cup, then escaped with the same score when Singh pulled his par putt.

Singh figured to be leading by five strokes, perhaps even six.

Instead, the lead was at four, and the onslaught -- a seven-shot swing over the next five holes -- was just beginning.

Woods studied the slope of the 10th green, walked back about 50 yards to the fairway and played a slow pitch that just cleared the bunker, skipped through the green and up a hill, then rolled back to 18 inches. Singh missed the green right and had no shot, chipping 30 feet down the slope and making bogey.

Woods holed a 12-foot birdie on No. 11 to pick up another stroke, then caught Singh with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 12th.

Singh appeared to have the advantage on the par-5 13th, lying just 99 yards from the hole in the middle of the fairway. He hit his wedge too hard, over the green, then chipped back through the green and into a swale, escaping with bogey.

Woods hit driver off the fairway into shin-deep grass about 30 yards from the green, the pin about 8 feet beyond a steep slope.

``I was just trying to put the ball on the upslope of the valley,'' Woods said. ``If it worked out great, if not I had a chance to chip in for birdie. It came out absolutely perfect.''

Did it ever. The ball bounced into the hill, crawled onto the green and rolled by the cup, stopping 4 feet away. He made that for his fourth straight birdie, and the gallery perched in foothills above the green went crazy.

He finished Singh off with an 8-iron that never left the flag and stopped 6 feet short, his fifth straight birdie. Woods one-putted nine straight greens, and required only 12 putts over his final 11 holes.

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His 23rd putt of the round -- he had 34 on Saturday -- was a birdie on the 18th for a 64, tying the record last set Saturday by Thomas Bjorn.

If Woods can carry this into the next season -- which starts in 18 days at Kapalua -- it could be another amazing year.

Singh, who failed to win on the PGA Tour this year for the first time since 1996, closed with a 71 and earned $500,000. He won't play again until the Phoenix Open.

Scott Hoch complained about being left out of the field when the qualifications changed because of the terrorist attacks. The field was expanded to 18 to get him in, and he made the most of it with a 67 on Sunday to finish third at 279.

Mark O'Meara started and finished with a 66. It was that 74-75 in the middle that hurt him, although he tied for fourth at 281, along with Bernhard Langer.

It was the third Williams World Challenge, and Woods finally managed to win his own tournament. That leaves the Buick Open and the Nissan Open as the only two tournaments he has played at least three times without winning.

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