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Tiger Woods reclaims top spot

Tiger Woods finally returns to the top of his game after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time.

Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 05:49
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Heads and shoulders above the rest: Next up is the Masters in two weeks, when Woods will try to end his five-year drought in the majors [AFP]

Tiger Woods reclaimed the world number one ranking for the first time since October 2010 with a closing round of two-under 70 to capture the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday.

With his eighth Bay Hill course triumph, the 37-year-old Woods replaces Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy atop the world rankings.

"I play well here," said Woods who earned $1.08 million in prize money.

"That is about as simple as it gets. It is a by product of hard work and patience."

The 14-time major champion has previously spent a record 623 weeks on top of the world.

But he has not topped the rankings for nearly three years after injuries and an infamous sex scandal saw him tumble from the top 50.

Final preparation

Golf's top ranking since Woods

Tiger Woods - Jun 12 2005 to Oct 30 2010
Lee Westwood - Oct 31 2010 to Feb 26 2011
Martin Kaymer - Feb 27 2011 - Apr 23 2011
Lee Westwood - Apr 24 2011 to May 28 2011
Luke Donald - May 29 2011 - Mar 3 2012
Rory McIlroy - Mar 4 2012 - Mar 17 2012
Luke Donald - Mar 18 2012 - Apr 14 2012
Rory McIlroy - Apr 15 2012 to Apr 28 2012
Luke Donald - Apr 29 2012 to May 5 2012
Rory McIlroy - May 6 2012 to May 26 2012
Luke Donald - May 27 2012 to Aug 11 2012
Rory McIlroy - Aug 12 2012 to Mar 24 2013
Tiger Woods - Mar 25 2013

Woods claimed his 77th career PGA triumph - and 99th professional tournament win - in his final tune-up event for next month's Masters.

In a rare Monday finish, due to a severe thunder storm that postponed Sunday's round, Woods outdueled fellow American Rickie Fowler down the stretch winning by two strokes in the $6.2m event.

Sunday's storm swept across the Bay Hill Club & Lodge course in dramatic fashion with gusting winds toppling trees and television towers.

Woods and playing partner Fowler began Monday on the third hole and Woods quickly set the tone with birdies on a pair of par-fives, the No. 4 and No. 6 holes.

He finished on 18 with a bogey but it was enough to reach 13-under 275, giving him the win and propel him into No. 1 for the first time since 2010.

"I am getting back to winning golf tournaments," Woods said.

"I won some golf tournaments the last couple years so consequently I moved up."

Runner-up Justin Rose fired a two-under 70 to finish at 11-under while Fowler stumbled down the stretch and closed with a one-over 73 to end in a four-way tie for third at eight-under 280.

Fowler finished alongside Mark Wilson (71), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72) and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley (71).

Woods has now won 51 times in 55 tries when holding the lead entering the final round and is five wins shy of matching Sam Snead's all-time record on the PGA Tour. He and Snead are also the only players to win the same tournament eight times with Snead doing it at the Greater Greensboro Open.

Last summer, Fowler and Woods played in the penultimate group in the final round of the Memorial tournament. Fowler shot 84, Woods 67 as Woods went on to win.

On Monday, Woods pulled away on the par-five 16 with a brilliant approach shot out of a fairway bunker that stopped 35 feet from the cup. He then two-putted for a birdie to reach -14 under.

652

Source:
AFP
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