Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Woodland tops leaderboard for first PGA Tour victory

Reuters, TAMPA, FLORIDA

Gary Woodland celebrates after sinking his putt to make par on the 18th hole during the final round of the Transitions Championship on Sunday in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Photo: AFP

American Gary Woodland saved par with a 10-foot putt on the last hole to claim his first -USPGA Tour title with a one-shot victory on Sunday at the Transitions Championship over compatriot Webb Simpson.

An in-form Woodland used an uncanny touch with his putter to post a four-under-par 67 for a 15-under-par total of 269 on the Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort.

Woodland, who earlier this year lost a playoff at the Bob Hope Classic, tied for fifth in Phoenix and tied for sixth at the Honda Classic, made all 17 putts he had from within 20 feet during the pressure-packed final round.

“I was struggling with the golf swing today. I think the adrenaline got the most of me all day, but the one thing that has -really helped me in my career has been the putting and today it saved me. It won me a golf tournament,” Woodland said.

Woodland’s dramatic par at the 18th hole was his only par on a rollercoaster back nine for the winner, who posted five birdies and three bogeys from the 10th hole.

A tightly-packed leaderboard gave way to a late duel between Woodland, 26, and the 25-year-old Simpson, who was tied for the lead as he played the 18th hole.

Simpson hit his tee shot in the left fairway bunker and his second shot through the green about 50 feet from the cup, close to where Woodland had been in the group before.

His strong chip ran 20 feet past the hole and Simpson missed the par putt that would have forced a playoff, killing his shot at capturing his maiden Tour victory.

American Scott Stallings was third on 272 after shooting 70, with compatriot Brandt Snedeker (70) another stroke behind.

Third-round leader Briton Justin Rose, who floundered with four bogeys in a row from the seventh hole, shot 74 and was in a group of six on 274 that also included compatriot Martin Laird (70) and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe (73).

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