124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


The Hard Way

August 08, 2009

With this victory, Tiger now has 70 PGA Tour wins at the age of 33.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) --First came another signature moment from Tiger Woods, an 8-iron over the water that stopped a foot from the hole. Even more stunning was the meltdown that followed by Padraig Harrington.

In a swift turn of events on Firestone's famous 16th hole, Woods went from one shot behind to a four-shot victory Sunday by closing with a 5-under 65 to win the Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods became the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven times on the same golf course.

It was his 16th victory in the World Golf Championship series, and the world's No. 1 player now goes to the PGA Championship next week at Hazeltine with two straight victories after missing the cut last month in the British Open.

After nearly four hours in the tough battle that Harrington expected, he let it slip away in shocking fashion.

Woods left himself some 170 yards over the water, and his 8-iron landed near the pin and rolled back a foot away. Harrington hit from the collar of a bunker over the 16th green, but his flop shot came behind the green came out hot and into the water.

He wound up with a triple bogey and closed with a 3-over 73 to share second place with Robert Allenby, who had a 66.

Woods, who has won the Bridgestone Invitational seven times in 10 starts and has never finished out of the top five, finished out his remarkable afternoon in style with a 6-foot birdie putt.

It was the 70th victory of his PGA Tour career, three behind Jack Nicklaus in second place. Sam Snead (82) holds the record.

"We locked horns pretty good," Woods said. "I made a couple of mistakes. Paddy was being consistent, grinding it out, doing all the right things. Unfortunately, 16 happened. But it was a great battle all day."

It was every bit of that.

Woods won for only the sixth time in his career when trailing by three shots or more, a deficit that didn't last long.

He hit his approach into the par-5 second hole just over the bunkers to 25 feet to make eagle, and two more birdies was enough for him to take the lead after only five holes. From the right rough on the ninth fairway -- a rare miss on the front nine -- Woods hit to 7 feet for a birdie that gave him a 30 and a two-shot lead.

Harrington, a three-time major champion with a tough mind, kept grinding away with pars and regained a share of the lead with his first birdie of the day on the 11th. And when Woods made consecutive bogeys, Harrington found himself with a one-shot lead heading for the homestretch.

Woods hooked his tee shot into the left rough on the 16th and had to lay up well short of the pond guarding the green. He could not have imagined that by the time he reached the 17th tee, he would have a three-shot lead.

Harrington made such a mess of the hole that he hit five straight shots without losing his turn.