Altvater: Woods wins WGC-Bridgestone for eighth timeWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Tiger Woods continued to show the world that he can still dominate a golf tournament. He had won World Golf Championships held at Firestone Country Club on seven different occasions and he cruised to his eighth win in Akron on Sunday (Aug. 4).
Obviously Woods finds something at Firestone that adds confidence to his game. Trees frame the fairways and provide sight lines to work his ball. He is able to freely shape his drives through the doglegs and find fairways.
His past wins have also included much success on the greens which makes putting the undulating greens at Firestone an easier task.
Over the four rounds at Firestone this week, he had one eagle, 19 birdies, 46 pars and six bogeys. He finished ranked sixth in driving distance, averaging 315 yards off the tee and found 66 percent of the fairways.
Long accurate drives allow short wedges into the greens that set up birdie opportunities.
His nine-under-par bogey-free 61 in the second round on Friday included one eagle and seven birdies. It got him to 13-under par for the two rounds and gave him a very comfortable lead heading into the weekend.
Woods found only one bunker all week and managed to get that up and down for a save. He putted magnificently all four rounds, finishing with 1.679 putts per green-in-regulation and in his spectacular 61 on Friday, he averaged 1.385 putts. He also led the field with 4.623 strokes-gained-putting in the second round on Friday.
Just like the Tiger of old, everyone else in the field was playing for second place when he started the final round on Sunday with a seven-shot lead over Henrik Stenson.
Jason Dufner was eight shots behind and Luke Donald, Bill Haas and Chris Wood were nine back after the third round.
Stenson has been playing much better of late, but only managed an even-par 70 while paired with Woods on Sunday. Dufner, Donald, Haas and Wood, all posted one-over-par 71.
WGC-Bridgestone defending champion, Keegan Bradley made a move up the leaderboard on Sunday with a three-under par 67 and finished tied with Stenson for runner-up.
Another player who has struggled over the past two years, Martin Kaymer, made the biggest move of the day on Sunday by firing a four-under par 66 and finishing T-9.
Former world No. 1 Luke Donald continued his string of poor performances with a final round two-over-par 72 that dropped him down to T-9.
This is Woods’ fifth PGA Tour win of 2013. It boosts his total earnings for the year to $7.6 million. It is also his 79th career win and he trails Sam Snead by just three titles for the all time wins lead.
He leads the 2013 FedEx Cup standings by nearly 800 points over Matt Kuchar and increased his lead in the Official World Golf Rankings over No. 2 Phil Mickelson.
The WGC-Bridgestone was the perfect tune-up for Woods heading into the PGA Championship this week at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.
Both Firestone and Oak Hill are similar with old-style tree lined and rolling fairways.
Tiger is bringing a ton of confidence to the PGA Championship and desperately wants to get back to winning major championships.