GREENSBORO, United States: Tiger Woods couldn’t end his victory drought, but 51-year-old Davis Love snapped his on Sunday (Monday in Manila) with a one-stroke win in the Wyndham Championship that made him the third-oldest winner in US PGA Tour history.
All eyes were on Woods at Sedgefield Country Club, where the 14-time major champion was in contention for a first US PGA Tour win since 2013.
The former world No.1, coming off a missed cut at the PGA Championship that marked his third straight early exit from a major, needed the victory to make the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
Woods’ chances effectively ended with a triple-bogey seven at the par-four 11th hole. That was followed by a bogey at the 12th, and even a storming finish that included four birdies in his last six holes wasn’t enough.
Woods closed with an even-par 70 for 13-under 267, his tie for 10th his best finish of a disappointing 2015 campaign.
While Woods’s US season is over, Love is headed to the playoffs after grabbing his first US PGA Tour victory since 2008.
“Incredible” was Love’s verdict on the win, achieved with a six-under par final round of 64 that included eagles at both of Sedgefield’s two par-fives.
“Any victory is going to be really sweet when you’re over 50,” Love said.
His 17-under total of 263 gave him a one-shot win over Jason Gore, the overnight leader who carded a one-under 69.
“I’ve been working to try to get my game back,” said Love, who had foot surgery in March and was out of action for two months. “You just wonder if the body is going to wear out.”
South African Charl Schwartzel carded a 66 for 265 where he was joined by England’s Paul Casey (67) and American Scott Brown (68).
Love’s third Greensboro title—after wins in 1992 and 2006 at Forest Oaks Country Club—was finally secure once Gore missed his 50-foot birdie attempt at the final hole.
“I was nervous,” admitted Gore, whose solo second place finish was enough to retain his tour card. “We weren’t just playing for a tournament, we were playing for a job next year.”
Love’s 21st career victory saw him jump into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup rankings, earning his spot in the opening event of the series, next week’s Barclays.
At 51 years, four months and 10 days old, Love trails only Sam Snead and Art Wall as the oldest winners on the US tour.
Snead was 52 years old when he won the last of his eight Greensboro titles in 1965, while Wall was 51 years and seven months old when he won in Milwaukee in 1975.
Love started the day four shots off the lead and finished his round with four birdies and two bogeys in addition to his two eagles.
Woods falls short
Woods began the day two adrift, but couldn’t get things going as he parred the first six holes.
“I just wasn’t able to get any kind of roll early,” Woods said. “I had my chances to get it going. I just never did.”
He dropped a shot at the par-three seventh, where his tee shot sailed into the crowd.
After a birdie at the ninth Woods made the turn three off the lead held by Gore and Woods’s playing partner Brown, who had aced the par-three third.
Things got worse for Woods at the 11th, where his approach left him off the green and his attempt to pitch on rolled through the green and into the opposite rough.
He ended up three-putting for triple-bogey.
“I gave myself a chance and I had all the opportunity in the world today to do it,” Woods said. “I didn’t get it done.”