By Ron Mintz
The leaderboard was crowded all day Sunday at TPC Sawgrass. At one point thirteen players were within three shots of the lead. That was until most groups arrived at 16, 17, and 18. These three holes didn’t determine the winner as much as it did the losers.
Tiger Woods was in the lead for most of the day, but he had plenty of company along the way. But after 14 Woods had squandered his two-stroke lead and was mired in a four way tie at 12-under with Sergio Garcia, David Lingmerth and Jeff Maggert.
“It was tough. I was in control of the tournament and got to 14 tee and just hit the worst shot I could possibly hit. And then, you know, made double bogey there but just stayed really patient,” Woods told Steve Sands of Golf Channel after the win. “I kept telling myself, ‘That’s the only bad swing I’ve made all day and there’s no reason why I can’t still win this golf tournament.'”
He did just that, but he had some help from other players who found misfortune in the closing holes.
Woods recovered from the double bogey and birdied 16. Then Garcia who shared the lead with Woods earlier, hit two balls in the water on 17, and left the hole with a 7 and out of contention. He then hit a shot in the water on 18 and ended up finishing tied for seventh place.
#17, the signature hole at TPC Sawgrass saw another 13 balls in the water today for a total of 44 for the tournament.
Lingmerth, Maggert and Streelman finished tied for second place at 11-under. Streelman finished earlier and was in the clubhouse at -11, which at the time looked like a good postion to be in as other players kept backing up.
Woods hung on for his second Players Championship, and his 78th victory in his career, and the fourth this year.
As Woods commented after his win:
I’m getting better.
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