Wonderful Woods completes stunning comeback with fifth Masters title

By Sports Desk April 14, 2019

Tiger Woods completed one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history and sparked frenzied scenes at Augusta National by winning the Masters to claim a first major title in almost 11 years.

An extraordinary final round, brought forward by the threat of inclement weather, ended with Woods topping the leaderboard by one shot at 13 under following a closing 70.

Now a 15-time major champion, Woods was two behind Francesco Molinari at the start of the day, but he managed to overhaul the Italian, who dramatically found water at the 12th and 15th, and hold off a host of other contenders in a thrilling finale.

Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka shared second on 12 under, with Molinari, who was still two clear with seven to play, finishing one further back in a share of fifth alongside Jason Day, Webb Simpson and Tony Finau.

Yet the day belonged definitively to Woods, who had never previously won a major having trailed heading into the final round and could afford the luxury of a bogey on the 18th. Understandably, the champion celebrated euphorically after sinking his winning putt, as spectators surrounding the green went wild.

When Woods last won a major, at the 2008 U.S. Open, he appeared a near-certainty to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record haul of 18 titles in golf's premier strokeplay events.

However, a shocking drought followed as he battled a succession of serious injuries, while his reputation was also damaged by lurid revelations about his private life.

As recently as November 2017, Woods was ranked 1,199th in the world, having acknowledged two months earlier that he may never play professionally again following his fourth back surgery.

Woods exceeded expectations last season, though, contending at two majors before claiming his first win in five years at the Tour Championship, and his remarkable return to the very top of the game is now complete.

When the pressure was at its highest on Sunday, with several players in contention, Woods found three birdies in four holes from the 13th to open up a two-shot advantage.

Five players - Woods, Molinari, Koepka, Schauffele and Johnson - shared the lead as the final group played the 15th hole, but golf's biggest name was soon out on his own. His tee shot at 16 almost produced a hole-in-one, which would truly have been the icing on the cake.

Amid the understandable fanfare for Woods, it was hard not to feel for Molinari, who won last year's Open Championship when paired with the former world number one for the final round.

Molinari never found his best form this time around and, although he initially demonstrated tremendous scrambling skills to stay in front, stretching his bogey-free run to 49 holes in the process, the wheels came off on the back nine and he signed for a 74.

Johnson and Schauffele shot 68 on the final day, while Koepka went round in 70. Of those three back in fifth, Day had the best score - a five-under 67.

Amid a frenetic finish, Patrick Cantlay briefly held sole possession of the lead after eagling the 15th, but he bogeyed the next two and shared ninth with Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler.

The low amateur was Viktor Hovland, who completed a third successive 71 to finish three under.

Sunday's play began much earlier than scheduled, with players grouped in threesomes, due to the threat of storms in the afternoon.

In the end, nothing was going to steal Woods' thunder on a day that will live long in the memory.

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    Johnson – who was runner-up behind Tiger Woods at the Masters – led by one shot heading into the final round in Hilton Head but the American star capitulated as he posted a six-over 77.

    The 2016 U.S. Open champion lost his way on the back nine, making three consecutive bogeys followed by back-to-back double bogeys en route to a tie for 28th position at four under.

    Johnson's woes and Pan's impressive final round saw the Taiwanese player – who had five birdies and survived a bogey on the par-five 15th hole – clinch his maiden PGA Tour title on Sunday.

    The 27-year-old Pan – who turned professional in 2015 – finished 12 under on the Harbour Town Golf Links, holding a one-shot lead with golfers still on the course.

    Pan headed to the driving range to stay loose in the event of a playoff. But he sealed his first victory — he had a pair of wins in 2015 on the PGA Tour Canada — moments later when Shane Lowry's 180-yard approach shot sailed wide right of the 18th green.

    He won ahead of American Matt Kuchar (67), with Lowry (70), Scott Piercy (69) and Patrick Cantlay (69) a shot further back.

    "It's something when I was younger I always dreamed of," Pan told CBS. "I watched Tiger [Woods] playing growing up. To have a W on the PGA Tour means the world to me. It's a dream come true."

    J.T. Poston (66), Seamus Power (67) and Kevin Streelman (68) ended up tied for sixth at 9 under.

    Former world number one Jordan Spieth ended the tournament tied for 54th following his final-round 75.

    After shooting a 74 on Saturday, Spieth went four over on day four to drop 12 positions to two over as his woes continued.

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    World number one Dustin Johnson holds a one-stroke lead after hitting the front heading into the final round of the RBC Heritage.

    American star Johnson carded a three-under-par 68 to leapfrog Shane Lowry following Saturday's third round in South Carolina.

    Amid heavy winds, there were a few big rounds to be had on the course, but only a handful of them as Masters runner-up Johnson earned the lead.

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    Patrick Cantlay (66) is two shots back at eight under, while Matt Kuchar (68) is a stroke behind and Webb Simpson sits six under after shooting the best round on the day with a six-under 65.

    Former world number one Jordan Spieth posted a three-over-par 74 to slide down into a tie for 42nd – eight shots off the pace.


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