Tiger Woods was at his best Sunday at the Memorial.
He hit nearly every shot just the way he wanted, worked the gallery into a frenzy and left everyone buzzing – especially Jack Nicklaus – with a shot that will be talked about for years.
Better yet was the timing of his 73rd win.
Woods tied Nicklaus for career PGA Tour victories at Jack’s tournament. And the 14-time major champion suddenly looks prepared to resume his chase of another Nicklaus mark – 18 major championships.
The U.S. Open starts in 10 days.
With a chip-in that even Woods called one of the toughest shots he ever made, he birdied three of his last four holes to close with a 5-under 67 and turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory over Rory Sabbatini and fast-closing Andres Romero.
Coming off a two-putt birdie on the 15th, Woods hit 8-iron over the green at the par-3 16th and into a difficult lie. With the ball in deep rough and the pin 50 downhill feet away, Woods hit a full flop shot hoping to give himself a reasonable putt for par.
No one was thinking birdie, not even Woods, until he took two steps and delivered an uppercut when it fell.
Nicklaus was gushing from the broadcast booth.
“The most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen,” he said. “… I don’t think under the circumstances I’ve ever seen a better shot.”
Woods, who finished at 9-under 279, won the Memorial for the fifth time. Muirfield Village is the fifth course where he has won at least five times. His previous victory this year was at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill.
Asked about the endless chatter about whether his game is back, Woods eventually sighed and said, “I’ll let you guys figure that out.”
LEWIS WINS HER 2ND
Stacy Lewis shot an even-par 71 to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic by four shots over Katherine Hull.
Lewis finished 54 holes at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., at 12-under 201. It was Lewis’ third LPGA win and her second of 2012; she won the Mobile LPGA Classic in April and the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year.
HAAS HOLDS ON
Jay Haas shot a 5-under 66 to finish with a 16-under 197 total, winning the Principal Charity Classic by five strokes in West Des Moines, Iowa. He become the first three-time winner of the Champions Tour event in Iowa.
Kirk Triplett, who grew up in Pullman, set the Glen Oaks course record with a 9-under 62 to tie for second with Larry Mize. Triplett matched his career-low round.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee shot a 1-over 72 in the final round at Celtic Manor to win the Wales Open with a 6-under 278 total. Jaidee’s fifth European PGA Tour title came by one stroke over a quartet that included Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn. … James Hahn birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Scott Parel for his first Nationwide Tour victory in Raleigh, N.C., in 13-under 271. … Mark Steinberg, Tiger Woods’ agent, was arrested on DUI charges Saturday in New York. Police said Steinberg failed a field sobriety test then registered a 0.18 blood alcohol content in a breath test.
TRACKING LOCAL GOLFERS on the PGA Tour
last WEEK: The Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio.
In the field: Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley.
Moore’s fourth-round score: 6-over-par 78.
Position: Moore (4-over 292) tied for 38th, 13 strokes behind winner Tiger Woods (67) at 9-under 279. Stanley (5-over 147) missed the cut Friday.
Recap: Heading into the back nine Sunday, Moore was 2-under for the tournament, and inside the top 10. Then the wheels fell off – three double bogeys, a pair of bogeys and a final-nine 42. It started at No. 10 when he left his approach shot 35 yards short, then pitched his third shot over the green and into the rough en route to double bogey. On the 15th and 16th holes, he hit shots into water hazards. And on the 18th hole, he hit another approach long over the green, leading to a final double bogey.
Next for moore: U.S. Open sectional qualifying today in Columbus, Ohio. If he does not earn a berth, he likely will tee it up next at the Travelers Championship starting June 21 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.email@example.com