It was a struggle, but Tiger Woods finally won again.
He ended a 10-month PGA Tour winless streak Sunday, finishing one stroke ahead of Jay Don Blake in the $1.8 million BellSouth Classic at Duluth, Ga.The 22-year-old, who won six of the first 21 PGA events he entered, hadn't won on tour since taking the Motorola Western Open in July, a span of 16 tournaments.
Woods, who had a three-stroke lead entering the final round, shot an even-par 72 for a 17-under 271 total over the 7,259-yard TPC at Sugarloaf course.
He said he enjoyed holding off Blake and winning the way he did.
"I think if you shoot a 62 to win it's not as satisfying as grinding it out and winning while not having your best stuff," said Woods, who won $342,000 to increase his earnings for the year to $1,003,586 in nine tournaments.
Woods, who won a tournament in Thailand in January, last played at the Masters in April, finishing eighth. He also had two seconds and a third earlier this year.
"I came here this week playing pretty good, put it all together somehow and won," he said.
Woods, who shot a course-record 63 on Saturday, made three bogeys and three birdies Sunday. All three bogeys came on the front nine.
"I didn't play all that great, but I got a couple of lucky breaks, which is what it takes," Woods said. "I didn't have my timing on my swing and didn't give myself a chance for many birdies."
The lucky breaks came on Nos. 9 and 11. He thought he had hit his balls into the water on both.
On 9, a 465-yard par-4, his second shot rolled into the deep rough, but stayed out of the water about 15 feet below the green. Woods chipped on and two-putted from 25 feet for a bogey.
"If I go in the water, it's a double-bogey," he said.
On 11, a 189-yard par-3, his tee shot landed over the green on a hill about 30 yards beyond, barely missing the water on the left. He chipped within four feet from high grass and made par.
"When I got past 11 and nobody was going (shooting) low, I felt I had a chance," Woods said. "The rest of the holes were down wind and I knew I would get a birdie somewhere."
Blake, a winner once in 12 years on tour, shot a steady 70 to finish at 272.
"I'm sure he (Woods) wasn't pleased with the way he played, but I didn't do anything to get him," said Blake, who earned $194,400 after mis-sing the cut in his two previous tournaments.
"Every time I thought I had a chance, he would do something to save himself," Blake said.
SARA LEE CLASSIC: At Nashville, Tenn., Barb Mucha sank an 8-foot putt to birdie the second playoff hole Sunday and beat out Nancy Lopez, Donna Andrews and Jenny Lidback for the Sara Lee Classic title.
SENIORS HOME DEPOT: At Charlotte, N.C., Jim Dent found inspiration on TV during a one-hour rain delay and defended his Home Depot Invitational title Sunday with a victory over Bob Charles on the second playoff hole.