Tiger wins at (the) last!!!

Tiger Woods wins in dramatic style on the notorious 18th hole at Bay Hill...

Ted Finnerty's picture
Martin Park
Mon, 19 Mar 2001

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In such a short space of historical time, we have seen some magnificent feats from the World’s best golfer and yesterday at The Bay Hill Invitational, Tiger Woods gave his fans…and his critics…a special session on the back nine of the Orlando course as he pipped Phil Mickelson to the title by one shot.

And the shot that he played to set up the winning birdie putt at the notorious final hole was one of the best ever seen from Woods in his short but stunning career.

His victory at the 1997 Masters was the making of the legend and last year was supposedly the icing on the cake as he completed the grand slam of winning all four majors and during those tournaments, we have seen some amazing shots.

A win at long last for tiger

But with a swing that seemed to be faltering as the pressure was on, Woods pulled out two miracle shots that he needed to firstly tie with Mickelson, who had set the clubhouse lead on 14-under par and then a shot of incredible proportions to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Woods began the day with a comfortable two shot lead over Sergio Garcia but the Spaniards hopes of his first PGA Tour title diminished after a triple bogey eight at the par five sixth hole.

Garcia could not recover as Woods scrambled his way around the next few holes with some clutch putting for par and it would be Mickelson who would take up the mantle as the best hope from the rest of the field.

Mickelson charged hard over the back nine and closed with a 6-under 66, thanks to a magnificent recovery at the last hole when he was 82-yards short of the green in two shots.

The World number two had to pitch across the rocks of the notorious 18th hole to a lethal pin position. But the man with arguably the sharpest short game on the planet showed why he was so good with a wedge in his hands as he stiffed his approach to set up a valuable par at the closing hole.

At this point, Woods was one shot behind after he made an unlikely birdie at the 16th hole.

With some erratic driving all day, Woods found the deep rough from the tee and many thought the green was out of range for a two putt birdie. But with brute strength and a classic flyer lie, Tiger played perhaps the shot of the week, not only finding the green, but the correct, upper level to set up an easy two putt birdie to tie the lead.

Mickelson had closed out on 14-under and Woods needed a par on the last hole to set up a playoff. But his driver misbehaved once more as he pull-hooked it into the crowd, just yards from the out-of-bounds markers and was lucky to receive a drop on a perfect firm lie.

If the shot at the 16th was incredible, the second shot to the 18th was out of this world, rivalling the famous bunker shot at the 18th during the Canadian Open last year when he defeated Grant Waite, who, by the way, finished third yesterday.

His second shot was 195-yards of sheer terror, over water, rocks and to a pin placement perched precariously at the far end of the slick and sloping green.

Woods made it look easy, as he often does with a five iron to within 15-feet to set up a dramatic winning birdie putt and his first victory this year…timely!

"It's always nice to win," Woods said. "It was not a pretty round of golf, but I got the ball in the hole. I was able to get some wonderful breaks down the stretch."

Mickelson took it on the chin as he thought he did just enough to at least warrant a playoff place. But as he said:

"I felt like I did what I needed to do to ultimately win. Tiger just did the same."

Woods earned $630,000 for his 25th career victory in just his 96th start on the PGA TOUR.

Grant Waite finished four shots further back in third ahead of a group of four players on 279, including Masters champion Vijay Singh, Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia.

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Bay Hill Invitational
FinishedPlayerR1R2R3R4Total ScoreTo Par
1TIGER WOODS71676669273-15
2PHIL MICKELSON66727066274-14
3GRANT WAITE66717269278-10
T 4STEVE LOWERY68707071279-9
T 4VIJAY SINGH71706672279-9
T 4GREG NORMAN69716871279-9
T 4SERGIO GARCIA71666874279-9
T 8DENNIS PAULSON66756970280-8
T 8SCOTT HOCH68726971280-8
T 8PAUL GOYDOS68687371280-8
T 8JEFF SLUMAN67746871280-8
T 8LEE JANZEN67726972280-8
T 8CHRIS PERRY71666974280-8
14HARRISON FRAZAR70706873281-7
T15FRED FUNK70727169282-6
T15PAUL AZINGER71707170282-6
T17GARY NICKLAUS71707171283-5
T17BOB ESTES69746971283-5
T17ROBERT DAMRON72667372283-5
T17LEE WESTWOOD71726872283-5
T17SCOTT MCCARRON67707175283-5
T17BRANDT JOBE70736674283-5
T23OLIN BROWNE70756871284-4
T23DAN FORSMAN72716972284-4
T23SKIP KENDALL70756772284-4
T23FRANK LICKLITER70717073284-4
T23FRANK NOBILO72697073284-4
T23FULTON ALLEM70677374284-4
T23ROCCO MEDIATE77676773284-4
T23STEVE PATE66737174284-4
T31KEVIN SUTHERLAND73696974285-3
T31DAVID BERGANIO70717074285-3
T34BERNHARD LANGER72707074286-2
T34GREG CHALMERS *71707372286-2
T34NICK FALDO72726874286-2
T34RETIEF GOOSEN *72727171286-2
T34TRIPP ISENHOUR *69727570286-2
T34ROBERT ALLENBY *72727468286-2
T40TIM HERRON *68727374287-1
T40CARL PAULSON72707075287-1
T40JOE OZAKI *74716973287-1
T43KENNY PERRY *73726974288E
T43TOM LEHMAN71716878288E
T43JAY DON BLAKE *72727371288E
T47LOREN ROBERTS *727171752891
T47PETER JACOBSEN *737271732891
T47JEAN VAN DE VELDE *697672722891
T47BRAD FAXON *757075692891

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