/ 30 January 2006

Woods survives play-off to win at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods made simple pars to win a three-way play-off against Australian rookie Nathan Green and two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal for the Buick Invitational title on Sunday.

Olazabal, playing a splendid bunker shot on the par-three 16th, missed a four-foot par putt on the second extra hole to hand Woods a victory that was only easy at the end.

For Woods, it was the fourth time in 10 years that he won in his first U.S. PGA Tour event of the year, and he became the first four-time winner at the Buick Invitational, on a Torrey Pines Club course he played as a kid.

The finish was reminiscent of the American Express Championship last October at Harding Park, where John Daly lost on the second extra hole by missing a three-foot putt.

Just like then, Woods bowed his head and slowly walked over to shake hands.

It was a sombre way to end a dynamic afternoon along the bluffs of the Pacific Ocean, where 11 players had a share of the lead at one point and there was an eight-way tie with six holes to play.

Woods, who three-putted three times during his final round of even-par 72, finally made the one that mattered with an eight-foot birdie on the 18th hole to get into the playoff and earn his 47th career tour victory. – Sapa-AP