Tue, Jan 17, 2006 - Page 19 News List

David Toms rips by field in final round of PGA Sony Open

AP , HONOLULU

David Toms surged past Chad Campbell and never gave anyone else much hope in closing with a 5-under 65 for a five-shot victory at the Sony Open on Sunday.

It was the 12th victory of Tom's career, and the first since he was taken off the course on a stretcher at the 84 Lumber Classic four months ago with his heart racing at 170 beats per minute. He had surgery to fix the problem in November, and answered any questions about his health with a dominant victory at warm and breezy Waialae Country Club.

With two quick birdies to seize control, he was up by four shots at the turn, and padded his lead by another shot to head off Campbell and Rory Sabbatini.

Entertainment came from 27-year-old rookie Bubba Watson, a lefty with power not seen since ohn Daly showed up at the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick in 1991.

Swinging from the heels, he blasted four drives over 360 yards on a course with no elevation. A flip wedge into the par-5 18th hole set up a short eagle for a 65 that gave him fourth place alone in his debut.

This was a weekend Toms won't soon forget.

It started with a course-record 61 on Saturday that allowed him to keep pace with Campbell, and with a tap-in birdie on the opening hole, he never let up. Toms finished at 19-under 261, one shot off the 72-hole record at Waialae, and earned US$918,000 to get his year off to a great start.

Along with winning for the fourth straight year on the US PGA Tour, his victory should be enough to easily return him to the top 10 in the world, where he was a regular before injuring his wrist and sitting out the start of 2004 season.

Campbell was coming off a 62, but didn't make a birdie until the 17th hole and shot 72. Sabbatini was the only player to make a move, such as it was, on the back nine. A par on the easy 18th still gave him a 62.

David Duval took a step forward on his road to recovery with a bogey-free 63, his best score in nearly three years.

Toms wasn't sure what to make of his future in September when his heart raced out of control between nines in the first round of the 84 Lumber Classic, and he was rushed to a Pittsburgh hospital, briefly listed in critical condition.

He was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, an electrical problem with the heart. Calmed by medicine that made him sluggish, he played the Presidents Cup and finished out the year at the Tour Championship, then had surgery in November and proclaimed himself healthy.

What was supposed to be a two-man race at Waialae turned into a runaway.

The roles were reversed from Saturday, when Campbell was firing off birdies and Toms was doing his best simply to keep up with him. From the opening shot, Toms had the advantage. And while Campbell did remarkably well to stay within range, including three straight par saves from the bunker, he didn't have enough game.

Toms started with an approach to inside a foot on the opening hole for a birdie and a one-shot lead, and he stretched that to two shots with a 25-foot birdie putt on the third.

Campbell, tugging at his shirt sleeve before every shot, was hanging on by a thread. From a deep bunker right of the third green, he blasted out to 6 feet and saved par. In another bunker with not much green between sand and the hole, he ran it 8 feet by and made that one. And on the sixth hole, he nearly holed a long bunker shot.

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