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Woods hails 'crazy' record-tying triumph in Japan

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-29 08:53
Tiger Woods holds a winning trophy as he celebrates to win the Zozo Championship, a PGA Tour event, at Narashino Country Club in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan, on Oct 28, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

INZAI, Japan - Tiger Woods said it was "crazy" after he made golfing history on Monday by holding off the challenge of home favorite Hideki Matsuyama to win the weather-delayed Zozo Championship by three shots.

Fifteen-time major winner Woods finished 19-under to equal US legend Sam Snead's all-time record of 82 PGA Tour victories, set 54 years ago.

Woods, in his first outing since arthroscopic knee surgery two months ago, broke into a huge smile after he safely got up and down from a greenside bunker on the 18th for a birdie to cap a final-round 67.

"It's just crazy. It's a lot," the 43-year-old Woods said of his 82nd victory on the tour. His first came 23 years ago this month in Las Vegas when he was just 20.

"It's been a long week. Five days at the top of the board is a long time. It was definitely stressful."

Woods led all the way in Japan's inaugural PGA Tour event, which saw Friday's play washed out by the fringes of a typhoon that dumped almost 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain on the course 80 kilometers from Tokyo, forcing play into an extra day.

World No 2 Rory McIlroy finished birdie-birdie for a 67 and a share of third place at 13-under with South Korea's PGA Tour rookie of the year Im Sung-jae who carded a fine 65.

Woods resumed his final round, suspended due to darkness, on Sunday at 7:30 am on the long 12th hole at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club but saw his overnight threeshot cushion over Matsuyama immediately cut to two.

The American legend, who won his 15th major at April's Masters, missed the green with his approach and fell back to 17-under when he failed to get up and down.

Woods' early-morning putter was cold, and on the short 13th he failed to take advantage from six feet for a birdie.

Up ahead on the 14th green, Matsuyama inexplicably spurned an easy opportunity to reduce the deficit to one as he missed a four-footer for birdie.

Woods was then faced with a similar line of putt as Matsuyama on 14, but from 20 feet further away. He did not miss, and restored his three-shot advantage with four holes remaining.

Agence France-Presse

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