Woods answers them, yet again

It was the answer everyone, including his critics, were waiting for. Tiger Woods, the so-called has-been, returned to that familiar winning enclosure with victory at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

Having already won the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year following his comeback from knee surgery, Woods captured the event hosted by another great from the past, Jack Nicklaus.

Woods birdied three of the final four holes, adding to an earlier stunning eagle, for a final round of seven-under-par 65. His total of 12-under 276 was one shot better than second-placed Jim Furyk.

It was his fourth win in the tournament, a record, and the 67th of his career. It also shapes him up nicely as he prepares to defend his title at the US Open at Bethpage Black. Woods, a 14-time major winner, said in an AP article:

“I knew I could do this. It’s just a matter of give me a little bit of time. I just came off a pretty extended break, and I was close to winning, but the game wasn’t quite there when I really needed it on Sunday. I rectified that.”

Drawing the usual gallery of thousands who watched his every move, Woods steadily clawed away at the lead, having started the final round seven strokes off the pace.

By half-way at Muirfield Village, thanks to four birdies, he was three adrift. Then came the defining moment, at the 11th. Woods, who had hit every fairway in regulation on the fourth day, pushed his second shot, a five-wood, through the green and into deep rough.

Using his customary great escape skills, he thwacked the ball with a one-handed follow-through and it trickled into the hole of a deafening eagle.

That set the stage for his final run at the title, with Furyk venting his frustration at the media for always trying to write off the world number one. Said Furyk.

“I just wish you all would just quit ticking him off, that’s what I wish. I wish you’d quit chapping him so he has to come back and keep proving stuff.”

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl scored a final round four-under-par 67 for a total of nine-under 275 and victory at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

He won the European Tour event by one stroke from Sweden’s Niclas Fasth with Spain’s Ignacio Garrido third on 277.

It was the 26-year-old’s first ever top 10 finish and it was in the position that mattered most. He is also the ninth debut winner of the 2009 season.

On the LPGA Tour, Korean Kim In-kyung fired a seven-under 65 in the final round to win the LPGA State Farm Classic in Springfield, Illinois.

Kim secured her second career title after holding off countrywoman Pak Se-ri, whose closing 66 was good enough for second place, one stroke behind Kim.

Han Hee-won, Lee Jee-young and Angela Stanford tied for third at 15 under. Kim’s first victory was at the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge.

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