7 Up Tiger Extends Winning Streak at Buick

By Associated PressJanuary 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- Tiger Woods resumed his improbable pursuit of Byron Nelson with a result that was all too predictable.
 
Woods caught up to the pack with an eagle, buried the hopes of his final challenger with a birdie and closed with a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the Buick Invitational for his seventh consecutive PGA TOUR victory, the second-longest streak in history.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods holds his fifth career Buick Invitational trophy. (WireImage)
Nelson set the record in 1945 with 11 in a row, a record long thought to be out of reach.
 
The way Woods is playing -- no worse than second in stroke play anywhere in the world since July -- that might no longer be the case.
 
Woods won six in a row in 2000, a streak that Phil Mickelson stopped at Torrey Pines. But against a cast of challengers short on experience and victories, the world's No. 1 player met little resistance in winning the Buick Invitational for the third straight year.
 
Woods doesn't consider this a true winning streak because he lost once in Europe and twice in Asia since September. But it still counts in the PGA TOUR record books, and the only question is when it will resume.
 
Woods was headed for the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday night, and he was not sure if would play his next PGA TOUR event at the Nissan Open on Feb. 15 in Los Angeles or the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona a week later.
 
'To somehow sneak out with the win is a cool feeling,' Woods said.
 
He got some help from Andrew Buckle and Jeff Quinney, both of whom had at least a share of the lead on the back nine until stumbling in a span of about 15 minutes on a cool, breezy afternoon at Torrey Pines.
 
Charles Howell III provide the final challenge with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, but Woods answered with an approach to 2 1/2 feet on the 17th hole for birdie that allowed him to play it safe on the par-5 closing hole.
 
Woods finished at 15-under 273 for his 55th career victory, the fifth time he has started a new season with a trophy.
 
Howell had a 50-foot eagle putt on the 18th that could have forced a playoff, but he played it too high over the ridge and wound up three-putting for par to close with 68.
 
'I gave him a run,' Howell said. 'Anytime you try to win a tournament against that guy, it's tough. I played well down the stretch. He just never flinched.'
 
The same couldn't be said for Buckle and Quinney, who each took double bogey along the back nine on the South Course to quickly take themselves out of contention. Brandt Snedeker, tied for the 54-hole lead with Buckle, closed with a 71 and finished third.
 
Woods' streak resumed after a nearly four-month break from the PGA TOUR, when he won by eight shots in the American Express Championship outside London on Oct. 1. He skipped the season-ending TOUR Championship and the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, and learned that his wife was pregnant for the first time.
 
One thing that hasn't changed is his golf.
 
The PGA TOUR winning streak dates to his victory in the British Open last July, and Woods is now 124 under par during that stretch.
 
This win looked like so many others, especially at Torrey Pines. Part of it was due to him, most of it was due to the guys falling apart down the stretch.
 
Buckle held it together for the longest time.
 
Woods erased a two-shot deficit in four holes, but the 24-year-old Australian bounced back with an approach into 6 feet for birdie on No. 5, and nearly reaching the par-5 sixth green from the right rough to set up a simple up-and-down birdie and a two-shot lead. And even after a roar that resonated across the course, Buckle didn't blink.
 
Woods hammered a 3-wood from the ninth fairway to 25 feet and holed the putt for eagle and a share of the lead. Buckle was walking up the ninth fairway to his tee shot, calmly taking a drag from a cigarette. He looked up when he heard the cheer, flicked the cigarette to the ground and stomped it out, then birdied the next two holes.
 
He still had a two-shot lead over Woods and Quinney when he reached the 12th tee, but his tee shot caught a corner of grass on the edge of a fairway bunker, and that's when everything collapsed.
 
Buckle's feet slipped in the sand as he struck the ball, which sailed well to the right and left him little green between a bunker and the flag. Attempting a flop shot to give himself a short putt at par, it came out too strong and tumbled over the green on the other side. He pitched to 4 feet and missed the putt, taking double bogey.
 
Woods took the lead for the first time with a 65-foot eagle putt that curled around the back of the cup and came an inch within falling, while Buckle against chopped around the rough and had to save par. Two holes later, Buckle was up to his ankles in ice plant and his chances were sliding over the cliffs lining the Pacific.
 
Quinney also disappeared, trying to play a perfect bunker shot that came up short and led to double bogey on the 14th.
 
As quickly as those two contenders vanished, Howell emerged.
 
He made the only birdie of the final round on the 477-yard 12th hole, followed that with a two-putt birdie on the 13th, then nearly holed out an 8-iron on the 15th, the ball grazing the edge of the cup. That pulled him to within one shot of the lead. He had the momentum. He was due to have something good come his way.
 
But he was playing with a guy for whom little goes wrong.
 
Woods, who saved par from the bunker on the 14th and 15th hole, hit his approach from 143 yards into 30 inches on the 17th hole, effectively ending the tournament.
 
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.