'Best week of driving' for Match Play champion

David Toms easily won the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship, overpowering fellow American Chris DiMarco in a record margin of six and five during Sunday’s 36-hole final.

Clutch-putting and a superb stretch of ball-striking helped the 38-year-old Toms dominate his American Ryder Cup teammate and collect $1,3-million in first-place prize money.

“It is the best week of driving the ball I have ever had,” said Toms, who posted the largest margin of victory in the history of the 36-hole final of the match-play event.

“I just felt a calm about me on the golf course all week. I have won a few tournaments but never felt this at ease.

“I wasn’t playing great coming in, and I have no idea how to explain it.”

In the consolation final, South African Retief Goosen, the reigning US Open champion, beat Ian Poulter in 20 holes.

Toms improved as the week progressed and played almost flawlessly in the later rounds.

Toms won five straight holes beginning at 13 and then padded his already sizeable lead by winning three straight starting from the 24th hole to go nine-up.

Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner, was runner-up to Tiger Woods two years ago and is the only player other than Woods to make the final twice.

DiMarco (36) won holes 27 and 28, but the short-lived rally came too late as he simply prolonged the inevitable.

Toms and DiMarco were all square after nine holes, before Toms took a stranglehold on the match by winning seven of the next eight holes at La Costa.

Though DiMarco won the 18th, Toms went to lunch six-up and never looked back.

Toms, the 14th seed, improved his record in the event to 18-5. Only Tiger Woods, with 20 victories, has won more matches.

Ironically, Toms had his toughest match in the first round, barely outlasting left-handed Richard Green one-up.

Toms and DiMarco were teammates on last year’s American Ryder Cup team and describe themselves as good friends.

DiMarco has only been extended to the 18th hole once in five previous matches.

“He [Toms] played solid and hit right down the middle,” DiMarco said.
“He’s a good champion.”

DiMarco could do nothing right on this day. He hit a male spectator on the head on the 21st hole and his ball ricocheted into the rough. A frustrated DiMarco then complained to his caddy that there was no rough where the ball was heading before he beaned the spectator on the cart path.

In the semifinals, DiMarco came from behind to beat fourth seed Goosen two and one, and Toms triumphed three and two over Englishman Poulter.—Sapa-AFP