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Thrust and Parry Aussie Conquers World

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SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- This time, Rich Beem said he wasnt going to win and he didnt. But he indirectly helped the man who did.
 
Craig Parry watched Beem win last weeks PGA Championship. He watched Beem envision the shot and then execute it. He watched, observed on TV after missing the cut, and thought, Why cant I do that?
 
He did do that Sunday at Sahalee Country Club. Parry, who started the final round of the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational tied with fellow Australian Robert Allenby, birdied the second hole Sunday and never looked back.
 
The diminutive 36-year-old stood tall on the front nine and held firm on the back to snap a 235-event winless streak on the PGA Tour. The 20-time worldwide winner finally earned victory No. 1 in the States.
 
'To win on tour means everything,' Parry said. 'It's been a long time. I've been knocking on the door for 10 or 12 years, even longer playing events in America.'
 
More from Parry on his win.
 
Parry shot 4-under 31 on the inward half and turned with a three-shot lead. A bogey by Allenby at the 10th extended the advantage to four, from where Parry was never challenged.
 
Parry, who didn't card a bogey over his final 48 holes, shot a flawless 6-under 65. He finished at 16-under-par 268; four shots clear of Allenby (69) and Fred Funk (68).
 
'He took it; he definitely deserves to win,' said Funk, who has three runner-ups and a tie for fourth in his last five starts on tour.
 
Tiger Woods (68) birdied the last to finish alone in fourth place, at minus 11.
 
In the process of ending his own futility, Parry also put a halt to Tigers dominance in this event. Woods won the first three NECs ' all at Firestone Country Club ' and was trying to become the first player since Walter Hagen (1924-27 in the PGA Championship) to win the same tournament four consecutive years.
 
But the change of venue led to a change of results.
 
Woods, who has played in each of the last three weeks, has finished first (Buick Open), second (PGA) and now fourth.
 
'I've only won one tournament (in that stretch), but that's not bad either,' Woods said. 'Anytime you can win one and put yourself in contention to win others, you're doing all right.'
Standing a stocky 56, with Popeye forearms and a Bluto belly, Parry collected a cool $1 million for his efforts. He upped his career PGA Tour total to nearly $5.7 million.
 
'I am going to get blotto (drunk). They might have to carry me off the plane tomorrow morning. I'm sure the Australian customs won't mind,' Parry joked.
 
He started his move out of the gates Sunday, birdieing Nos. 2-4. And with no other player making a real threat, he birdied the ninth to move three clear of the field.
 
Funk, who was also in the final threesome, birdied the par-5 11th to cut his deficit to three, but again fell four back when he left his third shot in the bunker at the par-4 12th.
 
Allenby dropped from contention as soon as the lead group made the turn. He bogeyed the 10th and double-bogeyed 12. As Tiger did a week ago, the four-time tour winner was able to birdie the final four holes, but fell far short.
 
'He's never won on tour, and he's picked a great tournament to be his first one,' Allenby said of his countryman. 'I think now it will show that's he's as good as we all know he is. He was the best player not to win on tour, and now he's broken through.'
 
Tiger tried to mount an early charge by birdieing 4 and 5, but a bogey at the par-4 eighth relieved the pressure. And unlike last Sunday's dramatics, Woods managed only two birdies on the back nine.
 
'I didn't shoot the good number going out I needed to shoot. I wanted 2- or 3- or 4-under-par on the front nine and I wasn't able to do it,' said Woods.
 
'They completely changed what we faced the first three days,' he added. 'The fairways were faster, the greens were harder and firmer. We had to get accustomed to a golf course like we played in '98 (at the PGA Championship).'
 
That made Parry's bogey-free performance all the more impressive. Never challenged coming home, he calmly ' at least on the surface ' made seven pars and two birdies.
 
Parry has four runner-up finishes on tour, in addition to near misses in the 1992 Masters, 1993 U.S. Open and 1999 British Open.
 
'I've had guys like Tom Lehman go birdie-birdie to beat me at Colonial. Phil Mickelson chipped in at the Byron Nelson one year on 16 for eagle; I think he ended up beating me by a shot,' said Parry. 'Nick Price was the hottest golfer in the 90s; he got me down at the Honda.
 
'I felt as though I was playing good and the other guys were just doing that little bit extra and beating me. And I've done that to everyone else this week, and that's good.'
 
Final results from the WGC-NEC Invitational