Toms Terrific -- Except in the End

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Last year wasnt David Toms year ' despite the fact that he earned nearly $3.5 million. It was a year for first-timers. Toms was a more established player. A multiple winner on the PGA Tour. A major champion.
 
It just wasnt his year to win. This years tour theme, however, is more directed at Toms.
 
The 36-year-old Louisianan cruised to his first title in 42 starts Sunday ' a drought that included four runner-up finishes. He started the final round of the inaugural Wachovia Championship with a five-stroke lead, and was six up on the field while playing the final hole at Quail Hollow Golf Club.
 
He butchered the last, taking a quadruple-bogey-8, but still won by two, at 10-under-par 278, over Vijay Singh (68), Robert Gamez (70) and Brent Geiberger (69).
 
''My game plan to was make a birdie and finish off in style,'' said Toms, who raised his hands in mock triumph after sinking the final putt. ''I went from being in total control and picking my targets to trying to hang on and finish.''
 
Toms continued the veteran domination on tour, joining the likes of Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Fred Couples, Mike Weir and Singh in this years winners circle.
 
The victory was the eighth of Toms career, and his first since his break-through season of 2001, when he won three times including the PGA Championship. He collected a career-high $1,008,000 and moved from 23rd to sixth on the seasons money list, with a shade under $2 million.
 
''I finally got that monkey off my back,'' he said. ''It will be a week that I'll remember for a long time, just because of the way I played golf. It wasn't a fluke that I won, because I felt like I played great golf all week.''
 
Inclement weather interrupted play for 42 minutes Sunday, beginning just after 2:00 PM ET. That also brought a halt to Nick Prices early run. The 36-hole leader birdied four of his first seven holes to get to 9-under for the tournament, and within three of Toms.
 
Following the round's resumption, though, he played his remaining 11 holes in 2-over. Price, who was elected into the Hall of Fame earlier in the week, shot 70 to finish tied for fifth with Kirk Triplett (71).
 
I tried not to think about it, Price said of the delay, but maybe I lost a bit of momentum.
 
Toms, meanwhile, kept moving forward after the break. Despite three-putting the par-5 fifth ' his first three-putt of the week ' for par, he birdied the par-5 seventh to move four clear of the field, at 13-under.
 
The rains returned before Toms could make the turn. Not that the elements affected the ultimate outcome.
 
Toms hit into the left fairway bunker on the par-5 10th. He laid up from there and then struck an 8-iron to 10 feet, from where he made the birdie putt.
 
At that point, it was simply a matter of making pars ' which he did ' seven in a row, in fact, before making a mess at the last.
 
All week long, as the tour returned to the Charlotte, N.C,. area for the first time in 24 years, players had compared Quail Hollow to a U.S. Open or PGA Championship venue.
 
The final hole, however, looked more like the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, where Jean Van de Velde tripled the 72nd hole before losing in a three-way playoff.
 
Toms pushed his tee shot well right on the par-4 18th, and then pitched through the fairway on his recovery shot. He finally got to the green on his fourth shot and four-putted from 45 feet.
 
But unlike the Frenchman, Toms still left with the hardware.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Wachovia Championship
  • Full coverage of the Wachovia Championship