Woods triumphs over Love

 

Tiger Woods completed the 24th worldwide victory of his career yesterday by shooting an effortless 70 to coast to a four-stroke win over Davis Love at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Florida.

Woods finished at 18-under-par 270 for his seventh title in his last 11 starts on the US PGA Tour and third victory of the year. It also marked the 13th consecutive time that Woods has won a tournament when leading or tied for the lead heading into the final round.

Darren Clarke finished with a round of 75 for an overall score of 287. Lee Westwood and Colin Montgomerie both had final rounds of 73 to finish well down the field.

By claiming the $540,000 winners' cheque, Woods pushed his tournament earnings for 2000 past $2.5 million.

Love, who began the day two strokes behind Woods after a brilliant third-round 63, shot an even-par 72 on Arnold Palmer's course to finish second at 274. It was the fifth successive time that Love had come up short in a head-to-head duel with Woods.

Skip Kendall carded a 67 to take third place at 275, two shots ahead of Neal Lancaster (70) and two-time former champion Loren Roberts (67).

In October 1996 Woods finished with a final-round 64 in the Las Vegas Invitational, forcing a play-off for the title. In it he beat the man he had caught so dramatically, Love, to record his first win on the US Tour.

Last October the two men contended for the prestigious Tour Championship, which Woods won by four. Then, in November, Woods beat Love in the Grand Slam of Golf event in Hawaii and when the draw in the World Match Play brought them together in February of this year, it was Woods, emphatically, by five and four.

Given their recent history it is not surprising that Love was not overly thrilled at duelling with Woods again. After completing the third round, he commented: "I've had two matchplay situations with him and I felt like I was playing very well and I went out there and just got smoked. If anyone starts beating you like that you start thinking, `Can I beat him?' and of course he thrives on that."