Notes Woods Feeling Good About Game


DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods finished the final round of the Memorial Tournament where he started it -- four shots off the lead and feeling pretty confident about his game.
``I hit it good all week,'' said Woods, this year's Masters champion. ``I hit it good off the tees all week. I controlled my irons well, I just didn't putt well early in the week. I started putting better on the weekend, but it was a little too late.''
Woods shot a 68 on Sunday but failed to make up ground because Bart Bryant, who started the day with a share of the lead, also finished 4 under on the last 18 holes to earn his second PGA tour win.
Bryant's 16-under 272 at Muirfield Village was one shot better than Fred Couples. Woods, his Sunday playing partner Bo Van Pelt, and Jeff Sluman tied for third at 276.
Woods had eight birdies Sunday, including three straight on Nos. 5-7, but followed that with a double bogey on No. 8. ``It was just enough of a momentum killer,'' he said.
If his 40-foot putt for birdie at No. 18 had dropped -- it grazed the cup -- Woods would have finished alone in third and recaptured the No. 1 world ranking from Vijay Singh, who missed the Memorial cut.
Woods nearly made Sunday's best shot when his chip from the bunker at the 14th hit the pin and ended up about 4 feet from the cup.
``I was just trying to fly it underneath the wind and I absolutely flushed it. I hit it perfectly solid,'' he said.
While the only three-time Memorial winner (1999-2001) couldn't rally for a win in the event's 30th edition, he wasn't too discouraged with his performance -- a tuneup for the U.S. Open in 11 days at Pinehurst No. 2.
``You stay in the moment, stay in the present because there's so many different circumstances that could happen out there,'' Woods said.
Jim Furyk opened the Memorial with consecutive 73s, then rebounded with a 64 and 68 to finish at 10-under 278.
Furyk, the 2002 Memorial winner, was still in contention until his approach on 18 cleared the green and the cart path behind it, coming to rest among fans standing on a ridge next to a practice green. His chip landed on the green but didn't stop, rolling into a bunker.
Furyk's shot from the sand was spectacular -- stopping about a foot from the cup, allowing him an easy putt and a bogey.
``I was just concentrating on trying to be aggressive out there and make a bunch of birdies,'' he said. ``This golf course can really bite you if you play like that.''
Local pro Bob Sowards made the cut for the first time in a PGA Tour event. He still had one regret -- not being able to share the milestone with his father.
Chuck Sowards died in December.
``The only negative of the whole week was my dad wasn't here to share it with me and talk about every shot,'' Bob Sowards said after his final-round 77.
Sowards, who received a sponsor's exemption, was an assistant pro at Muirfield Village from 1996-97. He played on the Nationwide Tour in 1998-99 and now runs a driving range and golf instruction business that's about a 10-minute drive from his former home course.
Sowards shot 1 over each of the first two days to hit the 146 cut line. He was 2 over in the third round and 5 over on Sunday for a 9-over 297, a total that left him wishing he could have done more in front of family and friends.
``I felt like I didn't take advantage of any opportunities I gave myself. Still, being able to play on the weekend means quite a bit to me,'' said the 36-year-old Sowards, the winner at last year's PGA Club Professional Championship.,
Craig Parry played the day's first round without a partner and finished in a speedy 2 hours, 18 minutes.
The Australian teed off at 8 a.m. and completed his solo performance so quickly that fans gathered on the hills around the 18th green had to wait more than an hour before another golfer came in to view. The pair playing behind Parry, Stuart Appleby and Thomas Levet, holed out at 11:30 and 11:32, respectively.
When Parry came off the course, a fan asked ``You got a date?''
``When I'm at home I play pretty quick anyway, not normally (2:18) or whatever it was,'' said Parry, who planned to catch a noon flight to Orlando, Fla., to begin practicing for the U.S. Open.
Rory Sabbatini shot a 69 on Saturday with a stomach virus and came back with a 71 on Sunday. He was feeling better, but would have preferred a cooler day.
Temperatures were in the 80s and it was humid.
``It would have been nice to have a typical Muirfield rain and cooler weather,'' said Sabbatini, who finished at 8 under.
The Memorial, famous for rain delays, escaped weather stoppages the past two
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