Tiger Woods overhauled a fading Spencer Levin and a charging Rory Sabbatini with a few moments of magic to win his 73rd PGA Tour title by two shots at the Memorial Tournament on Sunday.
He began the final day four strokes behind the pacesetting Levin and made a fast start before taking control with a spectacular finish that included a chip-in for birdie at the 16th that was lavishly praised by tournament host Jack Nicklaus.
“Boy, I hit it good today,” Woods said after clinching his second PGA Tour victory this season in his final appearance before the June 14-17 U.S. Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club. “I hit the ball just as good as I have in years.
“I never really missed a shot today ... and I had the pace of the greens really nice today, where I struggled yesterday, and made a few putts.”
Woods birdied four of the first seven holes and then three of the last four for a 5-under-par 67 and a 9-under total of 279, drawing level with Nicklaus in second place for career victories on the PGA Tour.
Sam Snead leads the way with 82 PGA Tour wins.
“It’s been a nice run since I’ve turned pro and to do it at age 36 is not too shabby,” Woods said of matching his childhood idol Nicklaus. “I’ve been very proud of what I’ve done so far, and I feel like I’ve got a lot of good years ahead of me.”
Sitting beside Woods in the media center, Nicklaus graciously said: “If he’s going to do it [win his 73rd title], which he was obviously going to, I’d like to see it happen here. That was good.”