Bryant Cruises to Record-Setting Win

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2005 Tour ChampionshipATLANTA -- Bart Bryant wasted little time in putting the Tour Championship away on Sunday. Already armed with a three-shot lead, Bryant birdied his first two holes en route to a 3-under 67. He finished at 17-under-par 263 to win by six at East Lake Golf Club.
 
'This goes so far beyond all of my expectations,' admitted Bryant, who pocketed $1,080,000 for the win. 'It's just amazing and a real dream come true.'
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods couldn't catch Bart Bryant on Sunday and had to settle for his third runner-up finish at the Tour Championship.
It was a record-setting week for Bryant that started with a course-record 62 on Thursday. He established a new 54-hole record on Saturday, then obliterated Phil Mickelson's former tournament mark by four shots.
 
The win was Bryant's third in the last year and a half. He captured the 2004 Texas Open, and earlier this season the 41-year-old won the Memorial.
 
So how does a former journeyman go to three-time winner and Tour Champion?
 
'Maybe a little maturity, confidence and throw in a little bit of luck,' said Bryant. 'I have a lot of people who have believed in me and I started buying into their belief.'
 
Tiger Woods finished as the runner-up in this event for the third time. He managed a 1-under 69 on Sunday to come in a distant second at 11-under-par 269.
 
'It was up to us to try and go get him,' said Woods, who won the 2005 PGA Tour money title with over $10 million. 'He wasn't going to come back to us. We didn't do that today.'
 
Scott Verplank shot a 1-under 69 and finished alone in third place at minus-9. Retief Goosen, who was in second place after the third round, struggled to a 4-over 74 on Sunday. He tied for fourth place with Vijay Singh (67) and Davis Love III (69) at 7-under-par 273.
 
Any challenger had to feel disheartened when Bryant played the first hole.
 
Bryant knocked his approach at No. 1 to 6 feet and ran home the birdie putt. He made it two in a row at the second to post a five-stroke cushion.
 
The 42-year-old holed a 14-foot birdie putt at four and it looked like the rout was on. Unfortunately, an errant drive at five and a swim in the water at the sixth led to a pair of bogeys. But since no other player was threatening the lead, Bryant was four ahead.
 
At the par-5 ninth, Bryant's second landed in a greenside bunker, but he blasted out to 7 feet and converted the birdie try.
 
It was at this point that Woods began making some noise with birdies at nine, 10 and 12. The closest Woods got was four, but the unflappable Bryant answered the challenge from the No. 1 player in the world.
 
Bryant drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the 11th and a 33-footer for birdie at 12. He was five ahead, but did find some trouble at the par-5 16th hole. Bryant's second sailed over the green and landed against a fence. He advanced his third to the fringe and could not get up and down for par.
 
Woods was unable to take advantage of Bryant's mistake. Woods' drive at the 16th went into the trees and led to a penalty drop. He could not save bogey, so Bryant played the last three holes with a six-shot lead.
 
Bryant played to the safest places on the greens at 16 and 17 and walked off with pars. His tee ball on the par-3 18th went through the green, but Bryant chipped to 2 feet and stroked home the par putt.
 
Adam Scott (67), Stuart Appleby (68), Ben Crane (69) and Padraig Harrington (69) tied for seventh place at 6-under-par 274.
 
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