Tiger Woods picked up his third PGA Tour title of 2012 in winning the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club by two shots from fellow American Bo Van Pelt.
Van Pelt led after a very unusual Saturday at Congressional. A wild wind storm that took down dozens of trees around the course forced the organisers to keep spectators out for the third round, so the penultimate 18-holes was completed in near-silence.
Tiger began the final round one shot off the lead and, through the early exchanges, it looked as though it was anybody’s to win. At one stage on the front nine there were no less than five players tied for the lead.
But, on the run for home it turned into a two-horse race between Tiger and Van Pelt.
Tiger reached the turn at 8-under-par and Van Pelt joined him there with a birdie on the 11th. Both birdied the 15th but then ran into trouble at the next hole.
Woods opened the door by pulling his tee shot into the left hand rough at the par-5 16th. He could only lay up from there so was left with a tough third shot into the green. Van Pelt had ripped his tee shot almost 350 yards down the fairway and had just a six-iron to the green. But he caught it fat, leaving a near-impossible shot from the side of a greenside bunker.
From there, the stance was so awkward that he was only able to move it a few feet. His fourth shot went 12 feet beyond the hole and he missed for par.
Woods’ pitch went over the green and he was also unable to get up-and-down, so he posted a six of his own.
Still, the pair were tied on 8-under. But on the 17th Van Pelt’s travails continued as he missed the green, leaving an impossible pitch. He made another bogey and so gave Woods a one-shot lead with one hole to play.
Tiger played it to perfection, a drive down the middle then a 9-iron to within 15 feet of the cup. Van Pelt finished with another bogey ant the title went to Woods.
“What an incredible week,” said Woods, the tournament host. “Everybody, thank you for being patient with us. Yesterday was a silent day. I think everyone saved up for today. What an atmosphere to play in front of.”
Van Pelt held on for second place and Adam Scott finished strongly to end the week in third. Scott almost missed his tee time on Thursday and started poorly with a round of 75. But he recovered well and, after a front nine of 31 on Sunday, could have contended for the title. But a couple of bogeys on the back nine halted his charge and he had to be content with third place.
With the win, Tiger goes top of the FedEx Cup standings and moves closer to returning to the Number 1 position on the Official World Ranking. Although he remains in fourth place, he has now gained more points in 2012 than any other player.
Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland
28 Jun – 1 Jul, purse $6,500,000, par 71
1 Tiger Woods (USA) 72 68 67 69 276 $1,170,000
2 Bo Van Pelt (USA) 67 73 67 71 278 $702,000
3 Adam Scott (Aus) 75 67 70 67 279 $442,000
T4 Robert Garrigus (USA) 70 67 73 70 280 $255,938
T4 Billy Hurley III (USA) 69 73 66 72 280 $255,938
T4 Seung-Yul Noh (Kor) 70 68 69 73 280 $255,938
T4 Jhonattan Vegas (Col) 71 70 68 71 280 $255,938
T8 Jason Day (Aus) 69 72 70 70 281 $195,000
T8 Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 65 73 73 281 $195,000
10 Nick Watney (USA) 70 72 69 71 282 $175,500
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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