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Hoch Wins Western Shootout

The PGA Tour doesnt need Tiger Woods to provide high-quality Sunday excitement. Scott Hoch and Davis Love III proved that at the Advil Western Open.
Hoch out-dueled Love to win his second title of the season in Lemont, Ill. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon shot a final-round 64 to edge his North Carolina Tarheel rival, who shot 66.
Free Video - Registration Required Hoch comments on his Advil Western Open win
Hoch set a 72-hole tournament scoring record with a 21-under-par 267 performance. Love tied the old mark - established in 1949 by Sam Snead and matched in 1964 by Chi Chi Rodriguez ' with a 20-under-par 268.
Hoch collected $648,000 for his 10th career PGA Tour win. He won the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in April.
He moves from 16th to 7th in Ryder Cup standings.
You look at whos won this event, the caliber of course, and it has to be the best event Ive ever won, said the 45-year-old Hoch.
'And to win two in a year, especially as old as I am, that's something special. My family being here, that's the most special.'
It's the third time this season that Love has led entering the final round of a PGA Tour event and failed to win. He's now 0 for his last 6 tries when leading after 54 holes.
'I did a lot of good things,' Love said. 'I just didn't play the perfect round like Scott did.'
Mike Weir (67) and Brandel Chamblee (69) tied for third place; eight shots back at 13-under.
Woods shot 71 and tied for 20th place at 8-under-par. With a tie for 12th in the U.S. Open and a tie for 16th in the Buick Classic, Woods has finished outside the top 10 in his last three tournaments. Its the first time thats happened since 1998.
Its not like I am struggling to break 90 out there, said Woods. I struggled today, yes, but I am still shooting under-par rounds. I finished decently, I guess.
You have two weeks before (the British Open) starts, theres a lot of things I can do between now and then.
Love entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Hoch and birdied his first two holes on Cog Hill Country Clubs Dubsdread Course. Hoch stayed within two by chipping in for birdie at the par-3 2nd.
Hoch chip-in was a harbinger of things to come.
Sundays final round proved to be reminiscent of a heavyweight fight, with each man throwing ' and receiving ' one power shot after another.
Hoch sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 4th, and then matched Loves birdie at the par-5 5th to enter the back nine one off the lead.
Again, both men birdied the par-4 10th. And when Hoch rolled in a 25-foot putt at the par-3 12th, the two combatants were tied for the top spot at 18-under.
Love regained sole possession of first place by sticking his approach shot to the par-4 13th two feet from the hole. He did the same one hole later to move to 20-under.
Not to be outdone, Hoch also birdied the par-3 14th. After watching Love place his tee shot to within 18 inches of the cup, Hoch knocked his to three feet.
At the par-5 15th, Hoch tried to go for the green in two. His approach shot from 251 went way right, but somehow stayed in bounds.
As he prepared to pitch his third shot to the green, Hoch joked, Wheres Mickelson when you need him.
Hoch did just fine by himself. Faced with a near impossible shot to get close, his third shot rolled 12 feet past the hole. Of course, he made the birdie putt to once again tie for the lead.
That tie didnt last long, as Love also birdied the 15th to move to 21-under.
Love finally showed signs of nerves when he badly pulled his approach shot to the par-4 16th left of the green.
It was his first missed green of the round, and also led to his first bogey of the day.
Tied at 20-under, Hoch and Love each birdied the par-4 17th. This time it was Love who struck first by making a 20-footer for birdie. Hoch responded with a six-footer of his own.
Ripe play turned a bit sour on the home hole. Both men found the right greenside bunker on the par-4 18th.
Faced with a more difficult shot than his opponent, Love could only get within 10 feet of the hole playing from the sand.
On the other hand, Hoch rolled his third shot to within two feet.
For the first time in the head-to-head match, Love wasnt able to answer the bell. He just missed his par save, and then watched as Hoch tapped in for par and encouraged his caddie, Buy.Com player Damon Green, to do his patented Chicken Dance.
Thats just the best golf Ive ever been associated with, said Hoch. It was golf just about as good as it can be played.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Bob Estes, Billy Andrade, Jerry Kelly, Dudley Hart, Kevin Sutherland, J.P. Hayes and Brandel Chamblee all qualified for the British Open based on a money list for non-exempt players dating back to The Players Championship.
*Rory Sabbatini, Matt Gogel, Mark Wiebe, Carl Paulson, Brian Gay, David Frost, Kenny Perry and Joe Ogilvie also earned a trip to the British Open based on their finishes in the Western Open.
Full-field scores from the Advil Western Open